spin·​dly | \ˈspin(d)-lē, ˈspin-dᵊl-ē\
spindlier; spindliest

Definition of spindly 

1 : of a disproportionately tall or long and thin appearance that often suggests physical weakness spindly legs

2 : frail or flimsy in appearance or structure a spindly tower

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Examples of spindly in a Sentence

spindly, underfed dogs roamed the poverty-stricken village

Recent Examples on the Web

With no gardener to guide them, the spindly wildlings form an impenetrable thicket of dark twigs with three-inch thorns. Adrian Higgins, The Seattle Times, "Scientists thought they had created the perfect tree. But it became a nightmare.," 17 Sep. 2018 Ohia trees are tall and spindly, with a flowering red crown that spreads out in twiggy filaments. Jennifer Kahn, New York Times, "Should Some Species Be Allowed to Die Out?," 13 Mar. 2018 The unrelenting equatorial sun scorches from above, and an explosion of chatter from shops just beyond a grove of spindly trees briefly breaks her focus. Deirdre Fernandes, BostonGlobe.com, "An education in hope," 7 July 2018 These spindly piers whose stilt-like legs hold up a net, antenna-like poles and a small roofed shelter, resemble giant alien spiders cooling off 100 or so feet out in the sea. David Farley, WSJ, "Where to Feast on Italy’s Freshest Seafood? These Historic Piers," 10 July 2018 Standing on its spindly wheels, next to their brand-new crossover, my parents’ all-black car is clearly from another century, looking as antiquated as Ford’s singular color palette. Casey Williams, chicagotribune.com, "Driving the Ford Model T through 110 years of American audacity," 3 July 2018 Those westgoers flocking into the arid lands beyond the 100th meridian would see their dreams dashed by spindly crops. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 About eight bighorn sheep scattered along the slope below, their distinct white tails bobbing up and down among the spindly desert flora baking in the midst an epic drought. Alex Devoid, azcentral, "Drought raises demand for water deliveries to wildlife, but it's a short-term fix," 27 June 2018 Of course there are other legends, the most popular of which holds that the Holy Grail was hidden in the mountain’s spindly confines. Smithsonian, "Explore Catalonia’s Most Beautiful Nature Parks," 15 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spindly.' 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 spindly

1651, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for spindly

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spindly

The first known use of spindly was in 1651

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More Definitions for spindly



English Language Learners Definition of spindly

: long and thin and usually weak


spin·​dly | \ˈspind-lē \

Kids Definition of spindly

: being thin and long or tall and usually feeble or weak spindly legs a spindly plant

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Comments on spindly

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a private place of worship

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