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

intransitive verb

: to play music
: to talk volubly or extravagantly

transitive verb

: to utter, express, or describe volubly or extravagantly
ˈspē-lər How to pronounce spiel (audio)


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: a voluble line of often extravagant talk : pitch

Did you know?

Here’s our spiel on spiel: it’s well-known as a noun, and you may also be aware that spiel can be used as a verb meaning “to talk extravagantly,” but did you know that the verb can also mean “to play music”? That, in fact, is the word’s original meaning, and one it shares with its German root, spielen. (Spiel is also found in glockenspiel, the name of a musical instrument similar to the xylophone.) In Scottish English, spiel is also sometimes used as a shortened form of bonspiel, which refers to 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
Paco whipped out his smartphone, logged on to Instagram Live, and began to spiel. Los Angeles Times, 18 June 2021 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, 13 May 2020 George had spieled a third version of that boss blonde in the picture. James Ellroy, Vanities, 7 Oct. 2017
But Coke's fourth-quarter revenue beat expectations in spite of inflation and war in Middle East Coca-Cola stock dipped after executives gave its investors an (apparently) unconvincing spiel about the company’s success on a Tuesday morning (Feb. 13). Laura Bratton, Quartz, 13 Feb. 2024 In lieu of generic spiels about how television elevates, presenters and winners talked a bit more about themselves in ways that felt personal without being precious. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 16 Jan. 2024 The union can now move on During the strike, the UAW fell into their standard-issue spiel of corporate greed and non-living wages. Adam Hanft, Fortune, 7 Nov. 2023 Bill Walton would linger in the back of the room at Pac-12 media day in years past, the breathless broadcaster listening for a change as coaches and players ran through the usual spiel about their prospects for the season. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2023 Anyone who has been to a few concerts knows there’s usually an element of spiel in the frontperson’s stage banter, but among Carlile’s gifts is making the personal feel universal. cleveland, 17 Sep. 2023 At the end of her spiel, Weird Barbie offers Robbie’s Barbie two options, represented by two shoes: Choose the stiletto heel and stay in Barbieland or choose the Birkenstock and venture into the real world. Time, 21 July 2023 Homburg bought two big chunks of federal land — that part was legit, at least — and started his sales spiel. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2023 The rhythm of her between-song spiels is more Roseanne than Joan Baez. Jonathan Van Meter, SPIN, 8 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Word History



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

First Known Use


1870, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1896, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spiel was in 1870


Dictionary Entries Near spiel

Cite this Entry

“Spiel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spiel. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to talk in a fast, smooth, and usually colorful manner
spieler noun


2 of 2 noun
: fast smooth usually colorful talk often intended to sell something

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