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

Every so often, a wool sheep is found that hasn’t been sheared for years, emerging from a cave or a remote mountain pass looking like a bulbous duster on spindly legs. Sarah Nassauer, WSJ, "Fiber Optics: Wool Lovers Battle Animal-Rights Crowd Over Sheep Shearing," 7 Jan. 2019 Mark curing himself, an inspiration to us all—competing for screen time with dominatrix squads of heavily armed women with plastic bodies running around the streets of Marwen on spindly little legs and brightly colored stilettos. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Welcome to Marwen’ Review: An Excess of Fantasy," 20 Dec. 2018 When the spindly boy showed promise, his father and his first coach drilled him not only on proper strokes but on poise and court etiquette. Edward Kosner, WSJ, "‘Arthur Ashe’ Review: A Hard Road to Glory," 17 Aug. 2018 But by the end of the game, the spindly point guard with the knee-high socks and forest green jersey awed them. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Trae Young loves to prove doubters wrong," 19 June 2018 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

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

27 Jan 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on spindly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spindly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spindly

Spanish Central: Translation of spindly

Nglish: Translation of spindly for Spanish Speakers

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irregularly rounded

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