dan·​gle | \ ˈdaŋ-gəl How to pronounce dangle (audio) \
dangled; dangling\ ˈdaŋ-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce dangling (audio) \

Definition of dangle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to hang loosely and usually so as to be able to swing freely
2 : to be a hanger-on or a dependent
3 : to occur in a sentence without having a normally expected syntactic relation to the rest of the sentence (such as climbing in "Climbing the mountain the cabin came into view") a dangling participle a dangling modifier

transitive verb

1 : to cause to dangle : swing dangled her feet in the water
2a : to keep hanging uncertainly
b : to hold out as an inducement



Definition of dangle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the action of dangling
2 : something that dangles

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Other Words from dangle


dangler \ ˈdaŋ-​g(ə-​)lər How to pronounce dangler (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for dangle

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of dangle in a Sentence

Verb Let your arms dangle at your sides. She sat on the edge of the pool, dangling her feet in the water. He dangled a piece of string in front of the cat. The money she dangled in front of him wasn't enough to convince him to sell. They refused to accept the money that was dangled before their eyes.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The computational biologist helped develop heavy-duty devices that are about the size of a milk crate and can be lowered into manholes to dangle over wastewater—steadily sucking up a stream of urine and feces through a strawlike tube. Peter Andrey Smith, Scientific American, "To Spot Future Coronavirus Flare-Ups, Search the Sewers," 30 June 2020 Eventually, other automakers will also lose the ability to dangle that federal incentive in front of buyers. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "EV vs. Gas: Which Cars Are Cheaper to Own?," 22 May 2020 Forward fold and sway: Hinge forward at your waist and allow your arms to dangle toward the floor. Stephanie Mansour, CNN, "How to combat poor at-home work posture," 22 Apr. 2020 Now, the entire industry has been left dangling by a thread after the coronavirus pandemic forced dining and drinking establishments to close or, at best, limit service to takeout and delivery only. Katherine Alex Beaven, Travel + Leisure, "These Dining Gift Cards Increase in Value Over Time, so You'll Have More Money to Spend Once Restaurants and Bars Reopen," 21 Apr. 2020 Rising anxiety about the spread of COVID-19 prompted Churchill Downs on Thursday to dangle the possibility of postponing the 146th running until later this year. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Latest Coronavirus news in Ohio, KY: School closures, Derby, casinos, courts, spread," 13 Mar. 2020 Rising anxiety about the spread of COVID-19 prompted Churchill Downs on Thursday to dangle the possibility of postponing the 146th running until later this year. Alfred Miller, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky Derby may be delayed due to the coronavirus. What would that mean to the city?," 12 Mar. 2020 His parachute was snagged on a rock, and he was left dangling nearly 600 feet in the air. Eric Todisco, PEOPLE.com, "BASE Jumper Rescued After Parachute Got Stuck on the Side of Cliff Roughly 600 Feet Up in the Air," 14 Jan. 2020 The pendant dangling from the gold chain around his neck bears the logo of his group, Jodeci. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "Jodeci’s Unplugged ‘Lately’ Was Its Pinnacle. Andre Harrell Made It Happen.," 12 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun White rosary beads Garza threads through her fingers when there’s a need for prayer dangle at the ready on a shelf behind her sewing machine. Vincent T. Davis, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio woman finds common thread of purpose as head seamstress of South Side nonprofit," 2 Mar. 2020 For the sparkly occasion, the went for an sequined one-shoulder version with a contrasting fuschia belt and accessorized with massive heart dangles. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Millie Bobby Brown Channeled Eleven in a Baby Pink New Year’s Eve Dress," 2 Jan. 2020 Fabrics drape from her dining room ceiling, connecting at a center point from where her old-fashioned candle chandelier dangles. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "The Biggest Revelation From 'Miss Americana' Is Taylor Swift's Maximalist Kitchen," 5 Feb. 2020 The industry elite – style editors, influencers, and, now Selena herself – all seem to have these glitzy dangles in their jewelry box. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Selena Gomez Just Wore the Roxanne Assoulin Statement Earrings Fashion Bloggers Are Obsessed With," 15 Jan. 2020 One piece at the ICA dangles from the rack, its lower quarter an earthy taupe beneath a crisp horizontal. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Painter Vivian Suter emerges from decades of self-exile with bright, blissful works at the ICA," 29 Aug. 2019 In the picture, the woman looks visibly disgusted as the passenger directly behind her dangles their feet over her headrest, just inches away from her face. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "'Disgusting': Plane passenger dangles dirty feet above woman's face in cringeworthy photo," 13 Nov. 2019 Wrinkly longaniza and trimmed pork shoulder dangle from a long wood closet rod. Illyanna Maisonet, SFChronicle.com, "Making sausage an art in Puerto Rico, and a treasured memory in a California childhood," 23 Oct. 2019 There’s the shopkeeper fussing in a garage, from whose door a rope invitingly dangles. Simon Parkin, The New Yorker, "The Joy of Being a Horrible Goose in a Time of Moral Crisis," 17 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dangle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dangle


1565, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1756, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dangle


probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish dangle to dangle

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Time Traveler for dangle

Time Traveler

The first known use of dangle was in 1565

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Statistics for dangle

Last Updated

13 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dangle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dangle. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for dangle


How to pronounce dangle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dangle

: to hang down loosely especially in a way that makes it possible to swing freely
informal : to offer (something) in order to persuade someone to do something


dan·​gle | \ ˈdaŋ-gəl How to pronounce dangle (audio) \
dangled; dangling

Kids Definition of dangle

1 : to hang loosely especially with a swinging motion The keys were there, dangling in the ignition.— Louis Sachar, Holes
2 : to cause to hang loosely We dangled our feet in the water.

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More from Merriam-Webster on dangle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dangle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dangle

Spanish Central: Translation of dangle

Nglish: Translation of dangle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dangle for Arabic Speakers

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