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 On a busy day, when Liam’s would sell hundreds of shakes, Liam had all nine spindles going at once. BostonGlobe.com, "A short documentary exploring climate change on Cape Cod," 26 Sep. 2019 The tiered top drawer has a pleasing design with the drop spindle design. Brenda Yenke, cleveland, "Back to Our Roots show returns to Medina County Fairgrounds: Yenke Peddler antiques," 26 Sep. 2019 An officer with the Edmond Police Department testified Alden had enough recordings to fill 12 compact disc spindles. Harriet Sokmensuer, PEOPLE.com, "Home Security System Installer Put Secret Cameras in Girls' Bathrooms, Gets Life in Prison," 22 Aug. 2019 Early on, the squiggling line of an EEG readout starts to form kinks called sleep spindles, unfurling across the glowing screens inside sleep labs. Quanta Magazine, "Researchers Tap a Sleep Switch in the Brain," 14 Feb. 2017 The benches were made of steel and the spindles on them were originally part of the gate at his grandmother’s house. Lyndi Mcnulty, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "An Eye for Art: Manchester artist fell in love with making ‘something cool out of nothing’," 14 Aug. 2019 Items discovered during the excavation include soapstone from the Shetland Islands, pottery and a bone spindle whorl. Fox News, "Viking drinking hall discovered on remote Scottish island," 8 Aug. 2019 But one of its spindles was deeply cracked and a piece knocked out while being shipped home by UPS. Sean P. Murphy, BostonGlobe.com, "Home security system proved anything but," 21 July 2019 It was equipped with the latest open-end spindles for spinning yarn, but the cloth the plant produced was for export to China — that is, until the tariff wars wiped out $40 million in sales last year. Don Lee, latimes.com, "Casualty of trade war: Chinese investments in U.S. grind to a halt, blocking new jobs," 1 July 2019

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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Statistics for spindle

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for spindle

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on spindle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spindle

Spanish Central: Translation of spindle

Nglish: Translation of spindle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spindle for Arabic Speakers

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