wan·​gle | \ ˈwaŋ-gəl How to pronounce wangle (audio) \
wangled; wangling\ ˈwaŋ-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce wangle (audio) \

Definition of wangle

intransitive verb

: to resort to trickery or devious methods

transitive verb

1 : to adjust or manipulate for personal or fraudulent ends
2 : to make or get by devious means : finagle wangle an invitation

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Other Words from wangle

wangler \ ˈwaŋ-​g(ə-​)lər How to pronounce wangle (audio) \ noun

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Wangle, a verb of uncertain origin, has been used in its newest sense, "to obtain by sly methods," since at least the early 20th century. Occasionally, one sees "wrangle" used similarly, as in "wrangle a huge salary," but more typically it means "to argue or engage in controversy." Did the "obtain" sense of "wrangle" evolve through confusion with "wangle"? Not exactly. "Wrangle" was used with the meaning "to obtain by arguing or bargaining" as early as 1624, long before "wangle" appeared in the language. The sense had all but disappeared until recent decades, however, and its revival may very well have been influenced by "wangle." The "obtain" sense of "wangle" is currently more common than that of "wrangle," but both are considered standard.

Examples of wangle in a Sentence

He wangled a free ticket to the show. He managed to wangle his way into the party.
Recent Examples on the Web Discussions of how to wangle free shipping or discounts dovetailed with a proposition that the group start a fund-raiser for a family in need—a worthy use for money saved. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, 27 Mar. 2021 That was the only way for the Florida to wangle into any election controversy this time. Dave Hyde,, 3 Nov. 2020 The court ruled that Mr Atambayev had helped wangle the early release from prison of a mafia don, Aziz Batukayev, supposedly on compassionate grounds, using a fake diagnosis of leukaemia. The Economist, 27 June 2020 By contrast, as the world has ground to a halt around them, Harry and Meghan are still wangling to make everything about them. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, 22 Apr. 2020 Legendre’s social connections had wangled her a secretarial role in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The Economist, 10 Oct. 2019 Breslow’s family managed to wangle one ticket to Cuba and decided the father should go first. Jeff Gammage,, 9 June 2018 And Begbie (Robert Carlyle) — whose drug of choice has always been violence — has just wangled an appropriately bloody escape from prison. Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, 16 Mar. 2017

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

1888, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for wangle

perhaps alteration of waggle

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Dictionary Entries Near wangle

Wang Ching-wei



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Cite this Entry

“Wangle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for wangle



English Language Learners Definition of wangle

informal : to get (something) by clever methods or by persuading someone

More from Merriam-Webster on wangle

Nglish: Translation of wangle for Spanish Speakers


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