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 most significant difference is at the front where the signature Lexus spindle grille has been reworked. Sam Abuelsamid, Forbes, 31 May 2022 The spindle is a kind of internal scaffolding that latches onto and guides the movement of chromosomal DNA during a particular stage of reproductive cell division. Stephen S. Hall, Wired, 11 Mar. 2021 The technique allows Mitalipov to locate and remove the spindle with its otherwise invisible chromosomes from the egg cell of a healthy donor, leaving behind the cytoplasm (with its normal mitochondria). Stephen S. Hall, Wired, 11 Mar. 2021 Our favorite deal: Get 43%, or $300, off the best-selling Juniper Chair, a classic farmhouse-style wood chair with a spindle back and oversized padded cushions. Heath Owens, Good Housekeeping, 4 Aug. 2022 Staresina says that future work should examine spindle and other activity in the hippocampus, the brain's memory hub. Rebecca Sohn, Scientific American, 27 July 2022 The spindle is made from polished stainless steel and rotates in a low-friction brass-bearing well. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 3 May 2022 The fanciful homes were often fronted by bay windows and a wraparound porch with wood spindle railings. oregonlive, 21 June 2022 One carpet is attached to the wall on a spindle, as if to say that the carpets are not precious, but sold off the rack by the yard. New York Times, 30 June 2022 See More

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.

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

27 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Spindle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spindle. Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for spindle


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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