Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
[for a liquid] to seep or dribble away. All the water trickled away down the drain. After the last of the spilled milk had trickled away, Timmy began to cry.
trickle down(to someone or something)
1. Lit. [for a liquid] to seep or dribble downward to reach someone or something. The water trickled down the wall to the floor. It trickled down very slowly.
2. Fig. [for something] to be distributed to someone or something in little bits at a time. The results of the improved economy trickled down to people at lower-income levels. Information about what happened finally trickled down to me.
trickle in(to something)
1. Lit. [for a liquid] to seep or dribble into something or a place. Some of the rainwater trickled into my car through a leak. It trickled in during the night.
2. Fig. [for someone or something] to come into something or a place, a few at a time. The audience trickled into the hall little by little. They trickled in over a period of an hour or more.
See also: trickle
trickle out(of something)
1. Lit. [for a liquid] to leak or dribble out of something or a place. The oil trickled out of the engine little by little. It trickled out and made a puddle on the floor.
2. Fig. [for someone or something] to go out of something or a place, a few at a time. The dissatisfied members of the audience trickled out of the theater three and four at a time. They trickled out as the evening wore on.
1. Lit. [for a liquid] to seep through something. The water trickled through the cracked windowpane. They taped the glass, but the water trickled through anyway.
2. Fig. [for someone or something] to move through something little by little. The people trickled through the door into the store in far smaller numbers than we had expected. They trickled through very slowly.
To diffuse downward through some hierarchical structure: The sociology professor believed that money rarely trickles down from the owners of capital to the workers who toil in the factories.