span·​iel | \ ˈspan-yəl How to pronounce spaniel (audio) also ˈspa-nᵊl \

Definition of spaniel

1 : 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
2 : a fawning servile person

Examples of spaniel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her answer: fostering Benny, a spaniel mix who’d just been pummeled by a car. Chris Erskinecolumnist, Los Angeles Times, "The latest shortage? Dogs and cats, as folks foster and adopt pets during quarantine," 2 Apr. 2020 Brittanies—no longer known as Brittany spaniels—make a great choice for a compact pointing dog. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, "How to Choose Your First Bird-Dog Puppy," 23 Mar. 2020 After beating out 32 setters and spaniels in the sporting class, Daniel became one of the first golden retrievers to make it to the final round, best in show — a feat noted in Daniel’s hometown paper. New York Times, "Daniel, the Golden Retriever Snubbed at Westminster, Is Doing Just Fine," 12 Feb. 2020 Friedman stopped by with his two dogs, a Shih Tzu and a Shih Tzu spaniel. Washington Post, "A D.C. strip club had been there for years. But a new name is sparking protest.," 19 Dec. 2019 The pastime went without a name for a while before — at least according to one story — being dubbed pickleball after Pritchard's spaniel, Pickles, who kept stealing the ball. Washington Post, "He picked up pickleball a few years ago. Now he is the national champion.," 30 Dec. 2019 Zenger’s paper, the Weekly Journal, had waged a year-long campaign against the royal governor of the colony, arraigning him for high-handedness and mocking him and his supporters as spaniels and monkeys. Richard Brookhiser, Time, "Lincoln's Gettysburg Address Honored Ideals Far Older Than Four Score and Seven Years," 19 Nov. 2019 Among them are Blackett’s feckless, dissolute son, Monty, who is scheming to avoid military service; his daughter, Joan, a human viper; and the Human Condition, an elderly, mangy spaniel with his own preoccupations. Katherine A. Powers, Washington Post, "The sordid tale of the Borgias and other great audiobooks for your playlist," 26 Sep. 2019 My grandmother had outlived all of her siblings, her husband, and a series of spaniels. Deborah Milstein,, "The celebration of a lifetime," 9 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spaniel.' 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 spaniel

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spaniel

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

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Time Traveler for spaniel

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Spaniel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for spaniel


How to pronounce spaniel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of spaniel

: a type of small dog that has long ears and a soft coat


span·​iel | \ ˈspan-yəl How to pronounce spaniel (audio) \

Kids Definition of spaniel

: a small or medium-sized dog with a thick wavy coat, long drooping ears, and usually short legs

More from Merriam-Webster on spaniel

Nglish: Translation of spaniel for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about spaniel

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