I have been using trickle down in contexts totally irrelevant to economy and similar concepts. Here is an example:

Any change involving a particular part of an ecosystem will trickle down, in due course, to the others.

Many Google results are related, in a way or the other, to national wealth, haves and have-nots, etc.

The following is a rare example Google fetches:

That news may take at least a day to trickle down to the street.

I'd like to know if this usage is unacceptable or simply less common? What could be a better alternative, if this is not acceptable?


Trickle down has also an idiomatic usage besides the economic one: (from TFD)

  • 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.
| improve this answer | |
  • The second example of the second sense should allow this usage then. Am I right? – Itsme Nov 13 '14 at 21:32
  • Yes, in a figurative way you can use it with the meaning shown in the example. – user66974 Nov 13 '14 at 21:34
  • Except that "trickle down" might not be the best metaphor for an ecosystem's interconnectedness. – TRomano Nov 13 '14 at 21:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.