spin·dle | \ˈspin-dᵊl \

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

b : muscle spindle

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, 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from spindle


spindler \ˈspin(d)-lər, ˈspin-dᵊl-ər \ noun

Examples of spindle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

These spindles are stacked with slices of pork and chicken, pressed, seared crisp on the vertical broiler, and shaved to order by owner Ali Kalatzakis with a buzzing, circular electric knife — a spectacle unto itself. Alex Kiesig, idahostatesman, "'I love this city': Eat your way through the Capital City Public Market," 6 July 2018 On a table were miniature looms for children, and a small drop spindle. Laurel Graeber, New York Times, "Kids Don’t Just See Art at This Show. They Work With the Artists, Too.," 28 June 2018 In honor of the milestone, an image of a 45 record spindle adapter was featured in the festival logo. Caitlin Mullen, chicagotribune.com, "'They're hawking Oak Park': A Day in Our Village festival draws thousands," 4 June 2018 Inside, the two-story entry has white wainscoting; a boxed ceiling treatment; and a staircase with wood treads, a custom runner and wrought-iron spindles. Lisa Zapalac, Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire showcase home is open today, May 27," 27 May 2018 These spindles show the relative popularity of musical categories on an annual basis, represented as width. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "Science of Music," 15 June 2018 Through a delicate process, and with minimal computer assistance, de Grey fused copies of the Moser spindle and another small assembly of points into a 20,425-vertex monstrosity that could not be colored using four colors. Evelyn Lamb, WIRED, "An Anti-Aging Pundit Solves a Decades-Old Math Problem," 30 Apr. 2018 The circular office building still occupied by Capitol resembles a stack of records on a turntable with the spindle pointing toward the sky. Roger Vincent, latimes.com, "How much has once-dreary Hollywood changed? Try $6,600 a month for a 2-bedroom apartment," 21 Apr. 2018 Not every porch is all Victorian spindles, brackets and turned balustrades. Richard A. Marini, San Antonio Express-News, "Sit a spell with these 8 gorgeous front porches," 18 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spindle

Statistics for spindle

Last Updated

3 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spindle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \

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

b : muscle spindle

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on spindle

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


to teach someone the beliefs of a group

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

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!