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90s Slang You Should Know


[ting-kuh l] /ˈtɪŋ kəl/
verb (used without object), tinkled, tinkling.
to give forth or make a succession of short, light, ringing sounds, as a small bell.
to run one's fingers lightly over a keyboard instrument or to play such an instrument simply or badly.
Baby Talk. to urinate.
verb (used with object), tinkled, tinkling.
to cause to tinkle or jingle:
The goat tinkled its bell every time it raised its head. Who's tinkling the piano?
to make known, call attention to, attract, or summon by tinkling.
a tinkling sound or tune.
an act or instance of tinkling.
Informal. a telephone call:
Give me a tinkle before you leave for Europe.
Origin of tinkle
1350-1400; Middle English tynclen, frequentative of tinken to clink; imitative
Related forms
outtinkle, verb (used with object), outtinkled, outtinkling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tinkle
Historical Examples
  • All at once he was sure that he had heard the tinkle of glass, but he waited.

    The Pagan Madonna Harold MacGrath
  • Miss Junk appeared in answer to the tinkle of the bell and removed the food.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • Her long, bony fingers busied themselves with frantic haste, and suddenly, into the silence of the room came the tinkle of music.

    Murder at Bridge Anne Austin
  • While we were making her comfortable the telephone continued to tinkle.

    The Silent Bullet Arthur B. Reeve
  • From the bow I heard the creak of the anchor-chains as they were drawn on board, and from the engine-room the tinkle of bells.

    Captain Macklin Richard Harding Davis
  • Sleep, and then again the tinkle of the horse-bells at dawn.

    The Call Of The South Louis Becke
  • "And from the tinkle of your tongue, I have been suspecting the same thing of you," retorted the other quickly.

    The Court Jester Cornelia Baker
  • I'm jus' as much a woman, Tumm,' says she, 'as any woman o' tinkle Tickle!'

    Harbor Tales Down North Norman Duncan
  • The tinkle of a telephone bell reached those who remained, and he came back a minute or two later.

    The Protector Harold Bindloss
  • He saw the sketch in tinkle's window and thought it was a windmill at first.

    The Four Million

    O. Henry
British Dictionary definitions for tinkle


to ring or cause to ring with a series of high tinny sounds, like a small bell
(transitive) to announce or summon by such a ringing
(intransitive) (Brit, informal) to urinate
a high clear ringing sound
the act of tinkling
(Brit, informal) a telephone call
Derived Forms
tinkling, adjective, noun
tinkly, adjective
Word Origin
C14: of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tinkle

"to make a gentle ringing sound," late 14c., possibly a frequentative form of tinken "to ring, jingle," perhaps of imitative origin. Meaning "to urinate" is recorded from 1960, from childish talk. Related: Tinkled; tinkling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for tinkle



A telephone call •Chiefly in the expression give someone a tinkle (1938+)


To urinate; pee •A nursery use (1950+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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