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1. Of a liquid, to flow out or away in drops or a thin stream. As the ice sculpture melted, it began tricking away into the grass. After dropping the jug, he just watched helplessly as all the wine trickled away.
2. To slowly disappear, dissipate, or become lost. As the clock ticks down, the team's hopes of reaching the playoffs continues to trickle away. Once last of our cash reserves trickles away, we'll have to file for bankruptcy.
1. Of a liquid, to flow or seep downward in drops or a thin stream. As the ice cream melted, it began tricking down Billy's arm. After dropping the jug, he just watched helplessly as all the wine trickled down the steps of the porch.
2. To distribute, pass, or diffuse to people lower on a hierarchical structure. The famous economical model posits that, should the wealthy be allowed to make as much money as possible, it will trickle down to everyone else in society. You're deluding yourself if you think power within the company is going to trickle down to you just because you're regional manager now.
1. Of a liquid, to flow or seep in(to something) in drops or a thin stream. I thought I had waterproofed the windows, but rain keeps trickling in. He noticed seawater trickling into the hull of the boat.
2. To slowly enter or become available. Students were still trickling in nearly 15 minutes after the lecture began. Once we get a bit of cash trickling in, we can start buying better equipment.
See also: trickle
trickle out (of something or some place)
1. Of a liquid, to flow, seep, or leak out (of something) in drops or in a thin stream. Aw man, water has started trickling out through a crack on the side of my water bottle. A strange-looking, foul-smelling liquid trickled out of the ancient sarcophagus.
2. Of people, to exit (from some place) gradually and in small numbers. Students began trickling out of the auditorium after the presentation was finished. I hate being the one to close up the concert hall. It's nearly midnight and people are only starting to trickle out.
3. Of some resource, especially money, to be exhausted or depleted gradually over time. It's been worrying seeing my meager savings trickle out as I search for a job. A consultant was brought in to help the company figure out places where funds are trickling out of their account.
4. Of some resource, to be released or become available (from something or some place) gradually and in small amounts. News about the CEO's replacement has been trickling out, but many are frustrated that the company hasn't been more forthright with the information. So far additional funding for our project has only trickled out of the head office, so we've been constrained in what we've been able to accomplish.
1. Of a liquid, to flow through something in drops or a thin stream. I thought I had waterproofed the windows, but rain keeps trickling through them. Wine trickled through a tiny crack on the bottom of the jug.
2. To move through something or some place very slowly or a few at a time. People trickled through the door throughout the evening, and we actually had a decent crowd by the end of the night. News has only trickled through so far.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
[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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.