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

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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 Each inkpot contains a spindle with a retractable silk thread that can be pulled through the ink reservoir, stretched taut, and then snapped, marking a board with a perfectly straight line. Michael J. Lewis, WSJ, "‘When Practice Becomes Form: Carpentry Tools From Japan’ Review: No Nails? No Problem!," 20 Apr. 2021 Most fetching are the black translucent panels overlaying either end of the spindle grille, or what remains of it. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "Lexus LF-Z Concept Hints at Production EV for 2025," 30 Mar. 2021 While any washing machine will do, front- or top-loading machines without an agitator (a.k.a. the large spindle in the middle of some machines) is your best bet. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Wash Pillows in the Washing Machine and by Hand," 29 Mar. 2021 Quick-change components allow for a wide variety of large- and small-diameter spindle work. Bob Beacham, chicagotribune.com, "The best live center," 26 Feb. 2021 But Wallace recognized the stone as an authentic Viking-era spindle whorl, a small stone that was fixed to the end of a rod used to spin thread. Sarah Durn, Smithsonian Magazine, "Did a Viking Woman Named Gudrid Really Travel to North America in 1000 A.D.?," 3 Mar. 2021 Maximum depth of cutting — technically the spindle travel — is also worth checking. Bob Beacham, chicagotribune.com, "The best mortiser," 23 Feb. 2021 Depending on whether the break was at the top or bottom of the spindle, the bend in the shape might not wind up a perfect match. Washington Post, "Several ways to repair a broken spindle on an old chair," 21 Dec. 2020 There is something similarly appealing about this Bavarian wheel of meat, which consists of 3.5 metres of a slender salami, wrapped, efficiency of all efficiencies, around a wooden spindle (about $18). Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "Just Buy Your Loved Ones Eleven Feet of Salami: A Food-Themed Gift Guide," 19 Dec. 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

24 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spindle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spindle. Accessed 12 May. 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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