- any of various marine gastropods; periwinkle1.
- Informal. to pry (something) out of a place, as winkle meat is dug out of its shell with a pin (usually followed by out).
Origin of winkle
First recorded in 1575–85; short for periwinkle1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for winkle
For years, like Mr. Winkle, we've declared we were just about to begin, and then never began at all.The Chocolate Soldier
C. T. Studd
Chesterton has now another dog, but he will never get another Winkle.Gilbert Keith Chesterton
Neither Winkle nor Snodgrass started this hypothesis, but Tupman.
“Winkle,” a corresponding member also; and a something of a sportsman.
"Never mind touching your hat, Sam," said Mr. Winkle hastily.Story Hour Readings: Seventh Year
- See periwinkle 1
- (tr; usually foll by out, out of, etc) informal, mainly British to extract or prise out
C16: shortened from periwinkle 1
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 winkle
edible mollusk, 1580s, shortening of periwinkle (n.2).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper