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

Did You Know?

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

Breslow’s family managed to wangle one ticket to Cuba and decided the father should go first. Jeff Gammage,, "History repeats: When America turned away refugees," 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, "Review: ‘T2 Trainspotting’: Once Defiantly Wretched, Now Worn Down," 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.

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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Learn More about wangle

Dictionary Entries near wangle


wang bar

Wang Ching-wei





Statistics for wangle

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Time Traveler for wangle

The first known use of wangle was in 1888

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English Language Learners Definition of wangle

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on wangle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wangle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wangle

Spanish Central: Translation of wangle

Nglish: Translation of wangle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on wangle

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


something desired as essential

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