Definition of wangle
- wangle an invitation
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He wangled a free ticket to the show.
He managed to wangle his way into the party.
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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.
First Known Use: 1888See Words from the same year
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