\ ˈspēl How to pronounce spiel (audio) , ˈshpēl \
spieled; spieling; spiels

Definition of spiel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to play music
2 : to talk volubly or extravagantly

transitive verb

: to utter, express, or describe volubly or extravagantly



Definition of spiel (Entry 2 of 2)

: a voluble line of often extravagant talk : pitch

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Other Words from spiel


spieler \ ˈspē-​lər How to pronounce spieler (audio) , ˈshpē-​ \ noun

Did You Know?


There's more than one "spiel." The noun sense is well-known, and many of our readers may also be aware that "spiel" can be used as a verb for the act of talking extravagantly. But did you know that the verb can also mean "to play music"? That, in fact, was the word's original meaning - one it shares with its German root, spielen. ("Spiel" is also found in "glockenspiel," a musical instrument similar to the xylophone.) In Scottish English, "spiel" is also sometimes used as a shortened form of "bonspiel," a name for a match or tournament of the icy game of curling.

Examples of spiel in a Sentence

Noun I listened to the salesman's spiel but still refused to buy anything. He gave me a long spiel about the benefits of joining the club.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Just landed: Travel news Have podcast, will virtually travel: A good travel podcast acts as an aural postcard, spieling out details about a destination for an audience that’s not jetting off—yet. Susan Seubert, National Geographic, "Backyard camping and other ways to fire up wanderlust at home," 13 May 2020 George had spieled a third version of that boss blonde in the picture. James Ellroy, Vanities, "James Ellroy’s Buzz M for Murder," 7 Oct. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Otherwise, Alice relishes her newfound independence, while Lisa offers soap-boxy spiels about reclaiming control over one’s sexuality. Devika Girish, New York Times, "‘Alice’ Review: The Escort Experience," 14 May 2020 Sworkit emphasizes proper form over instructor spiels, with detailed descriptions of each fitness move. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "Itching to exercise during your quarantine? These 7 at-home workouts are free - for now," 19 Mar. 2020 For four years the most recognizable faces in college hoops assembled inside Vandegrift’s gym to see the wunderkind dazzle before delivering their recruiting spiel. John Calipari wants Brown in Kentucky blue. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Landing Vandegrift star Greg Brown III could alter course of Texas basketball," 10 Apr. 2020 This vintage talk-show spiel is being absorbed in the present day by Ruby Red, a drag queen who’s hit upon hard times in the Netflix series AJ and the Queen. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "AJ and the Queen Says Drag Will Make America Okay Again," 15 Jan. 2020 Think about the typical spiel before getting onto a thrilling roller coaster. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Half-Life: Alyx review: The greatest VR adventure game yet—and then some," 23 Mar. 2020 The former Veep has a disquieting tendency to wander into rhetorical cul-de-sacs, jumping from topic to topic in stream-of-consciousness spiels. BostonGlobe.com, "We need to talk about Joe Biden.," 15 Sep. 2019 As Undine’s flaky brother, who is writing an epic poem about Br’er Rabbit and oppression, Kevin E. Thorne II gets to unleash some piquant roller-coaster rants; unfortunately, the words in one thematically important spiel are hard to make out. Celia Wren, Washington Post, "Lynn Nottage’s comic ‘Fabulation’ maps a slide down the social ladder," 28 Aug. 2019 So much, in fact, that Winstead expects to be revising her 90-minute spiel right up to showtime. Kathy Berdan, Twin Cities, "Snarknado: ‘Daily Show’ co-creator Lizz Winstead aims her snark at the year — and the decade — that was," 26 Dec. 2019

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


1870, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1896, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for spiel


German spielen to play, from Old High German spilōn; akin to Old English spilian to revel

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Learn More about spiel

Time Traveler for spiel

Time Traveler

The first known use of spiel was in 1870

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Statistics for spiel

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spiel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spiel. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for spiel



English Language Learners Definition of spiel

informal : a fast speech that someone has often said before and that is usually intended to persuade people to buy something, agree to something, etc.

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More from Merriam-Webster on spiel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spiel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spiel

Spanish Central: Translation of spiel

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