spaniel

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

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

The earliest evidence of dogs as companion animals at the Hampton estate dates back to 1856, in a painting of four Ridgley cousins with one of the boys holding onto a little black spaniel. Jen A. Miller, SELF, "When My Dog Died, I Discovered a Thriving Pet Funeral Industry I Never Knew Existed," 9 Apr. 2019 Some dogs had the breed ring all to themselves at this week’s show, including a Boykin spaniel named Nana, a harrier named Cora and an English foxhound named Whiskey. Jennifer Peltz, The Seattle Times, "A breed apart: Rare Westminster dogs have ring to themselves," 13 Feb. 2019 But the small, water-loving hunting dogs were for years something of a South Carolina secret, and they’re still not as widely known as some other spaniel breeds. Jennifer Peltz, The Seattle Times, "A breed apart: Rare Westminster dogs have ring to themselves," 13 Feb. 2019 Behind the stately front door of a classic Upper East Side townhouse, a little black spaniel named Winnie skitters across terrazzo floors. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "This Upper East Side Townhouse Is Brimming With Bespoke Furniture and French Antiques," 25 Jan. 2019 Sniffer dogs—Alsatians and Irish spaniels—are trained to root out ammunition, rhino horn, and weapons stashed in trucks and cars. Helena Pozniak, Popular Mechanics, "The Technology That Will Finally Stop Poachers," 26 Nov. 2018 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, chicagotribune.com, "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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spaniel

Statistics for spaniel

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spaniel

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spaniel

spaniel

noun

English Language Learners Definition of spaniel

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

spaniel

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spaniel

Comments on spaniel

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a secret plot to overthrow a government

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!