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[spang-guh l] /ˈspæŋ gəl/
a small, thin, often circular piece of glittering metal or other material, used especially for decorating garments.
any small, bright drop, object, spot, or the like.
verb (used with object), spangled, spangling.
to decorate with spangles.
to sprinkle or stud with small, bright pieces, objects, spots, etc.
verb (used without object), spangled, spangling.
to glitter with or like spangles.
Origin of spangle
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English spangele (noun), equivalent to spange spangle (perhaps < Middle Dutch) + -le -le
Related forms
spangly, adjective
unspangled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for spangle
Historical Examples
  • You know my reputation—30 years in a circus and never lost a spangle.

  • Presently their objective came into sight: a spangle of lights on the ground.

    Tam O' The Scoots Edgar Wallace
  • They might miss the spangle and sawdust of the circus, you know.

    Letty and the Twins Helen Sherman Griffith
  • These blessed considerations were made to spangle in mine eyes.

    The Life of John Bunyan Edmund Venables
  • Sheila Kaye-Smith is not a painter, even though with dew diamonds the thorn-bush she spangle.

    A Novelist on Novels W. L. George
  • There were shimmer and spangle and firefly sparklings in the lustrous folds of her gown.

    A Soldier's Trial

    Charles King
  • This metallic "spangle" varies a little in size and in shape, but not to any noteworthy extent (Plate 24, Fig. 2).

  • The stars that spangle the ceilings of churches on a blue ground are usually of cast lead gilt.

    Leadwork W. R. Lethaby
  • Bright dots of burnished gold begin faintly to spangle the sky in front.

  • On every hand luscious lawns spread, filled with crocuses and dandelions just beginning to spangle the green.

British Dictionary definitions for spangle


a small thin piece of metal or other shiny material used as a decoration, esp on clothes; sequin
any glittering or shiny spot or object
(intransitive) to glitter or shine with or like spangles
(transitive) to decorate or cover with spangles
Derived Forms
spangly, adjective
Word Origin
C15: diminutive of spange, perhaps from Middle Dutch: clasp; compare Old Norse spöng
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for spangle

early 15c., diminutive of spang "glittering ornament, spangle," probably from Middle Dutch spange "brooch, clasp," cognate with Old English spang "buckle, clasp," from Proto-Germanic *spango, from an extended form of the root of span (v.).


1540s, from spangle (n.). Related: Spangled; spangling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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