\ˈspēl, 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from spiel


spieler \ ˈspē-​lər , 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


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

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

Kerr tries to wrap up his whole spiel with about seven minutes showing on the clock — six minutes at the latest. Marc Stein, New York Times, "Why Do the Warriors Dominate the 3rd Quarter? Consider Their Halftime Drill," 31 May 2018 There is a lot of theming sprinkled around, right down to the please-no-flash-photography spiel. Dewayne Bevil, OrlandoSentinel.com, "First (and second) look: 'Guardians of the Galaxy — Awesome Mix Live' at Epcot," 11 June 2018 At first, Marlo resists, giving a spiel about not trusting a stranger with her children. refinery29.com, "Tully Review: The Movie That's Better Than Birth Control," 30 Apr. 2018 His spiel is goofy, caffeinated, and moderately cocky. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "How Fortnite Captured Teens’ Hearts and Minds," 14 May 2018 Thankfully, her spiel is interrupted by the news that June is pregnant. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Premiere Takes the Show to a Completely Unexpected Place," 25 Apr. 2018 The company, which had just eight employees as recently as December (mostly engineers in Israel), pitched itself differently than the typical cybersecurity marketing spiel. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Cyber Saturday—How Facebook and GDPR Propelled an Underdog to Victory at RSA Conference," 21 Apr. 2018 Approximately the next ten minutes of the spiel was about devotion to Bhagwan and his work. Susan Harfouche, The New Republic, "Memoirs of an Ex-Sannyasin," 12 Apr. 2018 Photo: Jared Martin and Magdalena Rychlowska That listener was supposedly chosen randomly but in reality was a plant trained to smile in one of three ways during the other’s short spiels: to signal reward, affiliation or dominance. Susan Pinker, WSJ, "Smiles Hide Many Messages—Some Unfriendly," 5 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spiel

Listen to Our Podcast about spiel

Dictionary Entries near spiel








Statistics for spiel

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spiel

The first known use of spiel was in 1870

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spiel



English Language Learners Definition of spiel

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

More from Merriam-Webster on spiel

See words that rhyme with spiel

Spanish Central: Translation of spiel

Comments on spiel

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


a trusted follower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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