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

intransitive verb

: to resort to trickery or devious methods

transitive verb

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

Did you know?

You may have noticed a striking resemblance between wangle and wrangle, both of which have a sense meaning “to obtain or finagle.” But the two do not share a common history: wrangle is centuries older than wangle, and despite their overlap in both meaning and appearance, wangle is believed to have evolved separately by way of waggle, meaning “to move from side to side.” (Wrangle, by contrast, comes from the Old High German word ringan, meaning “to struggle.”) It’s possible, though, that wangle saved the “obtain” sense of wrangle from the brink of obsolescence—until recent decades, this usage had all but disappeared, and its revival may very well have been influenced by wangle. We wish we could wangle conclusive evidence to support this theory, but alas!

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 That very day in 1963, Mr. Epstein had borrowed his stepfather’s car and driven from New York City to the Cornell campus in upstate Ithaca, N.Y., to try to wangle his way back into school after having flunked out seven years earlier. Sam Roberts, New York Times, 11 Jan. 2024 This theory is possible; a crooked or inept employee might have taken the file, wangled it to serve Ariely’s hypothesis, and then re-sent it using a non-Hartford e-mail address. Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, 30 Sep. 2023 Clearly, the few evolutionary changes the domestic cat has made have been the right ones to wangle their way into people’s hearts and homes. Jonathan Losos, Discover Magazine, 10 Aug. 2023 Sidney — who has just wangled a deal to buy (on credit) an arty neighborhood newspaper — at first rejects Wally’s entreaties for an endorsement. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2023 Those who were primed with power were more likely to lie about their scores to wangle extra tickets. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 27 Apr. 2010 But my mom’s father used connections to wangle falsified documents, and the immediate family escaped the worst of it. David Wright Faladé, The New Yorker, 4 July 2022 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 See More

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

Word History


perhaps alteration of waggle

First Known Use

1888, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of wangle was in 1888


Dictionary Entries Near wangle

Cite this Entry

“Wangle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


wan·​gle ˈwaŋ-gəl How to pronounce wangle (audio)
wangled; wangling -g(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce wangle (audio)
: to achieve or obtain by sly, tricky, or indirect methods
wangled a free ticket to the show

More from Merriam-Webster on wangle

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