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wag·​gle ˈwa-gəl How to pronounce waggle (audio)
waggled; waggling ˈwa-g(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce waggle (audio)

intransitive verb

: to reel, sway, or move from side to side : wag

transitive verb

: to move frequently one way and the other : wag
waggly adjective


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: an instance of waggling : a jerky motion back and forth or up and down
: a preliminary swinging of a golf club head back and forth over the ball before the swing

Examples of waggle in a Sentence

Verb He can waggle his ears. He can make his ears waggle. Noun a quick waggle of her head to indicate “no”
Recent Examples on the Web
Longer waggle runs indicate longer distances, while the angle of the waggle's direction indicates direction. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 13 Mar. 2023 The quality of the resource in question is encoded in the number of waggle run repetitions and in how quickly each dancing bee comes back to repeat the successive runs. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 13 Mar. 2023 On the romance front, there are a couple of kisses between supporting characters, and two mean-spirited characters flirt with each other (one waggles his bottom while wearing lederhosen-style shorts to appeal to the other) and are shown in short silk robes. Common Sense Media, Washington Post, 15 Dec. 2023 The irony of this shouldn’t be lost, as Nintendo’s infamous backstabbing of Sony in the Nineties directly led to the launch of the PlayStation, dethroning the Big N in Machiavellian fashion for a decade until the Wii waggled their way back into relevance. Christopher Cruz, Rolling Stone, 11 Nov. 2023 Bees learn waggle dance moves with a little help from their coworkers The state agency plans to work with the US Department of Agriculture and local authorities to eliminate the Tau fruit fly and prevent its spread. Jamiel Lynch, CNN, 1 Aug. 2023 These are passed to a kayaker, who waggles them overhead, like a prize, before stowing them in a laundry basket for safekeeping. Liam Archacki, The Christian Science Monitor, 31 July 2023 Bees learn waggle dance moves with a little help from their coworkers By snacking during noisy flyovers, the lizards are likely replenishing energy that’s lost during metabolic responses to stress, scientists reported Wednesday in the journal Frontiers in Amphibian and Reptile Science. Mindy Weisberger, CNN, 29 Mar. 2023 Bees waggle their butts to tell their hive-mates where to find a juicy stash of nectar. WIRED, 16 Mar. 2023
In their earliest dances, the bees that had no guidance performed dances with more mistakes in their direction angles and in the distance encoding communicated by the vertical waggle run. Mindy Weisberger, CNN, 9 Mar. 2023 For higher-quality resources such as sweeter nectar, dancers repeat the waggle run more times and race back faster after each waggle run. Making Mistakes This dance is difficult to produce. Discover Magazine, 14 Mar. 2023 Another question that scientists are hoping to answer is if social learning could shape changes in a colony’s waggle dance, so that updates about shifts in their ecosystem could then be relayed to younger bees through their elders’ waggles, Nieh said. Mindy Weisberger, CNN, 9 Mar. 2023 The silence of the forest might be interrupted with a siren salute from a passing law enforcement helicopter, or a wing waggle from firefighting aircraft passing en route to a fire. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Apr. 2023 One part of this process – the famous waggle dance – was discovered decades ago. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 8 Dec. 2011 The younger Yaz’s pre-swing bat waggle was the topic, hitting coach Justin Viele said. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Mar. 2023 But the waggle dance is just one form of honeybee communication. Sophie Bushwick, Scientific American, 17 Mar. 2023 Honeybees do the same to learn their waggle dances. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 13 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'waggle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



frequentative of wag entry 1

First Known Use


1588, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


circa 1866, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of waggle was in 1588

Dictionary Entries Near waggle

Cite this Entry

“Waggle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waggle. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


waggled; waggling
waggle noun

More from Merriam-Webster on waggle

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