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 spindling (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

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Other Words from spindle


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

Examples of spindle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That fracture separates the long arm of the chromosome from its spindle—the fibers that pull chromosomes apart during cell division. Megan Molteni, Wired, "In Embryos, Crispr Can Cut Out Whole Chromosomes—That's Bad," 29 Oct. 2020 To make a broom, the broom maker attaches the broomcorn to the wooden broom handle with the help of a winder, sometimes called a spindle, which holds tension on a wire or string as the broom maker turns the handle and gradually adds the broomcorn. Liz Logan, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Kentucky College Has Been Making Brooms for 100 Years," 26 Oct. 2020 At first blush, this might seem like a non-issue—who wouldn't prefer a drive with a faster spindle speed? Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Western Digital is trying to redefine the word “RPM”," 7 Sep. 2020 When a Baltimore carpenter or builder cannot locate the perfect replacement staircase spindle, or a weird replacement window shaped like a half moon, there is hope. Jacques Kelly, baltimoresun.com, "In East Baltimore a woodworker’s woodworker plies an old trade," 15 Aug. 2020 Centered on a spindle, the platter rotates and an electronic current reads and writes data onto the surface. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "DNA Is Millions of Times More Efficient Than Your Computer's Hard Drive," 25 July 2020 Only yesterday the bookkeeper had slid a ninth white bead from right to left along its spindle. Joanne Turnbull, Harper's Magazine, "The Gamblers," 23 June 2020 Creating spindles, banisters or chair legs requires a wood-turning lathe, as does making those popular wooden bowls. The Editors, Field & Stream, "3 Features You Need in a Wood Lathe," 10 Jan. 2020 Now Brigham is left with what toilet paper is on the spindles in the bathrooms and boxes of tissue. Karina Bland, azcentral, "While others were hoarding toilet paper, this mom and son gave rolls away for free," 15 Mar. 2020

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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Statistics for spindle

Last Updated

1 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spindle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spindle. Accessed 29 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for spindle


How to pronounce spindle (audio)

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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