\ ˈspül \

Definition of spool

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a cylindrical device which has a rim or ridge at each end and an axial hole for a pin or spindle and on which material (such as thread, wire, or tape) is wound
2 : material or the amount of material wound on a spool


spooled; spooling; spools

Definition of spool (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to wind on a spool
2 : wind spool the thread off the bobbin
3 : to regulate the transmission of by means of a spooler spool data

intransitive verb

1 : to wind itself on a spool
2 : to be wound or unwound
3 : to regulate data flow by means of a spooler

Examples of spool in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Below the printing area, two neat pop-out drawers hold spools of printing plastic. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "MakerBot’s new 3D printer shows how much it’s changed in nine years," 11 Dec. 2018 Panoramas were pictures mounted on long spools and operated manually. Willard Spiegelman, WSJ, "Sailing the Globe in a Gallery," 3 Aug. 2018 According to a previous news release from Oklahoma City police, security footage showed two people taking a spool of copper wiring belonging to the utility company last December. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "He tried to steal copper wire from a light pole and was found dead, Oklahoma cops say," 23 June 2018 The ‘it’ factor In Tyra’s playing days, the thin spool at the center of a roll of athletic tape was plastic, not cardboard. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "From a kangaroo court to Louisville athletics, Vince Tyra has always taken command," 27 Mar. 2018 However, each sticks to the basic form factor: A rectangular black box with a white square in the middle and magnetic black tape wound between two spools on either end. Madeline Buxton, refinery29.com, "Everyone Watching 13 Reasons Why Is Using The Wrong Emoji," 18 May 2018 Cold beer, burgers, tables made from old cable spools. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: Folc Burger’s stayin’ alive at Bexar Pub," 17 May 2018 Haviland started pulling out spools of different types of line. Kathryn Miles, BostonGlobe.com, "Can anyone save the North Atlantic right whale?," 11 Apr. 2018 Because of a few spools of thread and a dozen needles, people were condemned to death. Ben Taub, The New Yorker, "The Boarder," 30 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At first, air-traffic controllers didn’t seem alarmed when Richard Russell climbed into the cockpit of a small airliner here Friday evening, spooled up its twin turboprop engines and trundled from its parking spot near a cargo area. Jay Greene, WSJ, "Airplane Stunt Startles Onlookers, Ends Tragically," 12 Aug. 2018 While new messages will be spooled on senders' servers and sent as soon as Internet service is restored, that’s still a major disruption. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Meet Helm, the startup taking on Gmail with a server that runs in your home," 17 Oct. 2018 The name Fiberbots refers to the robots themselves: small, cylindrical machines that spool fiberglass filament out of an arm. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Watch a swarm of robots build a fiber structure," 12 Oct. 2018 Depending on power demands, the compressor can either help spool the turbo or provide boost directly to the engine. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "Straight From the Grave: An Iconic Engine Design Makes a Comeback," 21 Aug. 2018 Weiss had cleaned the reel and spooled it with new line. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Extraordinary musky fishing tale, verified and true, comes to happy ending," 11 July 2018 The free-spooling reel allowed the bait – a pink bead and spawn sac – to be carried with the current in a natural manner. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Centerpin gear is gaining fans for tributary fishing," 24 Mar. 2018 Customers will be offered services such as scope mounting, bore sighting, line winding/spooling, propane exchange and the ability to purchase hunting and fishing licenses. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "Academy Sports + Outdoors will open new store in Richmond," 19 June 2018 Light spooled across the water from Canada and turned the underside of the clouds yellow and pink. Porter Fox, WSJ, "A Seafood Hater Chases Fish in Maine," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spool.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of spool


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1603, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for spool


Middle English spole, from Middle Dutch spoele; akin to Old High German spuola spool

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spool

Dictionary Entries near spool



spook yeast


spool bed


spool heel

Statistics for spool

Last Updated

20 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spool

The first known use of spool was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for spool



English Language Learners Definition of spool

: a round object that is made to have something (such as thread, wire, or tape) wrapped around it


\ ˈspül \

Kids Definition of spool

: a small cylinder which has a rim or ridge at each end and a hole from end to end for a pin or spindle and on which material (as thread, wire, or tape) is wound

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on spool

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spool

Spanish Central: Translation of spool

Nglish: Translation of spool for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spool for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spool

What made you want to look up spool? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!