span·​iel | \ˈspan-yəl 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

Daily outdoor fun is a way of life for people with retrievers, terriers, spaniels, herding dogs and even plenty of dogs on the small side, who don’t seem to know they are considered part of the lapdog brigade. Kim Campbell Thornton, sacbee, "Hiking or camping with your dogs? How to keep them safe," 11 July 2018 The canine actor playing King Charles’ beloved spaniel is yet to be announced. Kt Hawbaker,, "Timothy Edward Kane and Scarlett Strallen lead cast for North American premiere of 'Nell Gwynn'," 10 July 2018 However, the airline has also implemented restrictions on certain dog breeds—including pugs, bulldogs, and some spaniels—due to safety concerns. Marie Salcido, Sunset, "Airlines Are Changing Their Pet Policies," 22 Jan. 2018 Tracking breeds already established in the workforce like German Shepherds, Belgian Malinoises, and spaniels were natural fits, Powell says. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "It’s Pooches vs. Poachers in the Fight Against Wildlife Smugglers," 22 June 2018 In August 2016, the couple bought a house in West Roxbury for themselves and Wesley, their spaniel mix., "Philadelphia weddings: Olivia Peters and Tim Scott," 18 Apr. 2018 Penny, Monroe says, was a Brittany spaniel that cost him $75 in his early years serving a church in Nyssa. Bill Monroe,, "RIP Pat McManus, a master outdoor humorist and teacher," 13 Apr. 2018 On arrival in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, ramp personnel working flight AS757 inbound from New Orleans International Airport reported that a seven year old female cavalier spaniel named Chillie was not moving and appeared to be lifeless. Matt Rocheleau,, "The details of 40 animal deaths, injuries, losses aboard US airlines," 15 Mar. 2018 While her spaniel whines pitifully for its missing master, her own complex feelings are still working their way to the surface. Sheri Linden,, "Charlotte Rampling's emotional depth buoys the minimalist 'Hannah'," 8 Mar. 2018

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

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

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English Language Learners Definition of spaniel

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


span·​iel | \ˈspan-yəl \

Kids Definition of spaniel

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on spaniel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spaniel

Spanish Central: Translation of spaniel

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

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What made you want to look up spaniel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a knickknack or trinket

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