[kok-uh l]


verb (used without object), cock·led, cock·ling.

to contract into wrinkles; pucker: This paper cockles easily.
to rise in short, irregular waves; ripple: The waves cockled along the shore.

verb (used with object), cock·led, cock·ling.

to cause to wrinkle, pucker, or ripple: The wind cockled the water.


    cockles of one's heart, the depths of one's emotions or feelings: The happy family scene warmed the cockles of his heart.

Origin of cockle

1350–1400; Middle English cokille < Middle French coqille < Vulgar Latin *cocchīlia, Latin conchylia, plural of conchȳlium < Greek konchȳ́lion, equivalent to konchȳ́l(ē) mussel + -ion diminutive suffix; compare Old English -cocc, in sǣ-cocc literally, sea-cockle < Vulgar Latin *coccus for Latin concha conch


[kok-uh l]


a weed, as the darnel Lolium temulentum, or rye grass, L. perenne.

Origin of cockle

before 1000; Middle English; Old English coccel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cockle

ripple, mollusk, wrinkle, pucker, bivalve

Examples from the Web for cockle

Historical Examples of cockle

  • On further inspection, the money was found to be cockle shells.

    Welsh Folk-Lore

    Elias Owen

  • The paper will be found to cockle the mounts badly in drying.

  • Dr Cockle had become accustomed to it, but I cannot fancy that it was very pleasant to him.

    Peter Trawl

    W. H. G. Kingston

  • You take my advice, and try a couple of Cockle's anti-bilious.

    Somehow Good

    William de Morgan

  • They loved to bind his forehead with the cockle shells that decked their own tresses.


    Anatole France

British Dictionary definitions for cockle




any sand-burrowing bivalve mollusc of the family Cardiidae, esp Cardium edule (edible cockle) of Europe, typically having a rounded shell with radiating ribs
any of certain similar or related molluscs
a wrinkle or puckering, as in cloth or paper
a small furnace or stove
cockles of one's heart one's deepest feelings (esp in the phrase warm the cockles of one's heart)


to contract or cause to contract into wrinkles

Word Origin for cockle

C14: from Old French coquille shell, from Latin conchӯlium shellfish, from Greek konkhulion, diminutive of konkhule mussel; see conch




any of several plants, esp the corn cockle, that grow as weeds in cornfields
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

Word Origin and History for cockle

type of mollusk, early 14c., from Old French coquille (13c.) "scallop, scallop shell; mother of pearl; a kind of hat," altered (by influence of coque "shell") from Vulgar Latin *conchilia, from Latin conchylium "mussel, shellfish," from Greek konkhylion "little shellfish," from konkhe "mussel, conch." Phrase cockles of the heart (1660s) is perhaps from similar shape, or from Latin corculum, diminutive of cor "heart."


flowering weed that grows in wheat fields, Old English coccel "darnel," used in Middle English to translate the Bible word now usually given as tares (see tare (n.1)). It is in no other Germanic language and may be from a diminutive of Latin coccus "grain, berry."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper