span·​iel ˈspan-yəl How to pronounce spaniel (audio)
 also  ˈspa-nᵊl
: a member of any of several breeds of small or medium-sized mostly short-legged dogs usually having long wavy hair, feathered legs and tail, and large drooping ears
: a fawning servile person

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Before the dog parade, a group of 300 military veterans known as the Chelsea Pensioners marched down the road, which, like the spaniels, was named after King Charles II. Yuliya Talmazan, NBC News, 6 May 2023 Many of Aesop’s belongings, as well as his 15-year-old Tibetan spaniel, Lady, have been brought to the Hollywood high-rise apartment of his close friends, Maya Sloan and Thomas Warming, a writing-team couple who became his caretakers during his last year and are embarking on a book about him. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 July 2022 The floors throughout, of reclaimed antique oak, can stand up to Amber and Chloe, the couple’s Brittany spaniels. Carlos Mota, ELLE Decor, 2 May 2023 Martha Heimberg, also a retired college professor in Dallas, takes Robert, her Brittany spaniel, out for daily walks at a favorite trail near her home. Dallas News, 1 Sep. 2021 Pupper's Nucleus is a great supplement for your spaniel. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 23 Oct. 2022 Joseph Mydell brings warmth and kindness to his turn as another hotel employee, but hearts will melt over the film’s most important supporting actor: Louis, Rosalind’s faithful spaniel, a scene-stealing canine who is best in show. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Sep. 2022 Raccoon dogs, a spaniel-size canine bred and sold in China both for their meat and luxurious fur, are one of the likeliest sources of the last 2½ years of human misery. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, 29 July 2022 My friend has the same problem with her old and blind spaniel. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 13 Apr. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spaniel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English spaynel, spaniell, from Anglo-French espainnel, alteration of espaignol Spaniard, from Vulgar Latin *Hispaniolus, from Latin Hispania Spain

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of spaniel was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near spaniel

Cite this Entry

“Spaniel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


span·​iel ˈspan-yəl How to pronounce spaniel (audio)
: a member of any of several breeds of small or medium-sized mostly short-legged dogs that usually have long wavy hair and large drooping ears

More from Merriam-Webster on spaniel

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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