spin·​dle | \ ˈspin-dᵊl How to pronounce spindle (audio) \

Definition of spindle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a round stick with tapered ends used to form and twist the yarn in hand spinning
b : the long slender pin by which the thread is twisted in a spinning wheel
c : any of various rods or pins holding a bobbin in a textile machine (such as a spinning frame)
d : the pin in a loom shuttle
e : a device usually consisting of a long upright pin in a base on which papers can be stuck for filing

called also spindle file

2 : something shaped like a spindle: such as
a : a spindle-shaped network of chiefly microtubular fibers along which the chromosomes are distributed during mitosis and meiosis
3a : the bar or shaft usually of square section that carries the knobs and actuates the latch or bolt of a lock
b(1) : a turned often decorative piece (as in a baluster)
(2) : newel
c(1) : a revolving piece especially when thinner than a shaft
(2) : a horizontal or vertical axle revolving on pin or pivot ends
d : the part of an axle on which a vehicle wheel turns


spindled; spindling\ ˈspin(d)-​liŋ How to pronounce spindle (audio) , ˈspin-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of spindle (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to shoot or grow into a long slender stalk
2 : to grow to stalk or stem rather than to flower or fruit

transitive verb

1 : to impale, thrust, or perforate on the spike of a spindle file
2 : to make or equip (something, such as a piece of furniture) with spindles

Other Words from spindle


spindler \ ˈspin(d)-​lər How to pronounce spindle (audio) , ˈspin-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Examples of spindle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The flash also has a spindle to hold a colorful gel over the bulb, so your photo fanatic can capture shots that look moody and unique without resorting to digital tricks. Michael Calore, Wired, 18 Nov. 2021 Catherine hunted high and low for matching vintage spindle beds. Sarah Halverson, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Nov. 2021 To add warmth, Underwood recommends using wooden spindle headboards. Washington Post, 19 Oct. 2021 This is the portion of the position error signal that is repeatable for every spindle revolution. Tom Coughlin, Forbes, 31 Aug. 2021 Divide between 2 large soup bowls and spindle with goat cheese. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 23 June 2021 There are areas that are nothing but white ash and some little spindle trees. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, 13 July 2021 An alleged spy photo (above) of the car's front end shows a Lexus spindle grille and the same overall shape of the Toyobaru siblings. Connor Hoffman, Car and Driver, 25 June 2021 When a cell divides in two, a protein spindle attaches to the centromeres, yanking the chromosomes apart to make sure that each cell gets the right number. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 11 June 2021

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


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1577, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for spindle


Middle English spindel, from Old English spinel; akin to Old English spinnan to spin

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Time Traveler for spindle

Time Traveler

The first known use of spindle was in the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near spindle

spin control



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Last Updated

26 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spindle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spindle. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for spindle



English Language Learners Definition of spindle

: a thin rod or stick with pointed ends that is used in making yarn
: the long, thin pin on a spinning wheel that is used to make thread
: something shaped like a long, thin rod especially : a long, thin part of a machine which turns around something or around which something turns


spin·​dle | \ ˈspin-dəl How to pronounce spindle (audio) \

Kids Definition of spindle

1 : a slender round rod or stick with narrowed ends by which thread is twisted in spinning and on which it is wound
2 : something (as an axle or shaft) which has a slender round shape and on which something turns


spin·​dle | \ ˈspin-dᵊl How to pronounce spindle (audio) \

Medical Definition of spindle

1 : something shaped like a round stick or pin with tapered ends: as
a : a network of chiefly microtubular fibers along which the chromosomes are distributed during mitosis and meiosis


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