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90s Slang You Should Know


[speel, shpeel] /spil, ʃpil/ Informal.
a usually high-flown talk or speech, especially for the purpose of luring people to a movie, a sale, etc.; pitch.
verb (used without object)
to speak extravagantly.
Origin of spiel
1890-95; (noun) < German Spiel or Yiddish shpil play, game; (v.) < German spielen or Yiddish shpiln to play, gamble Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for spiel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He'll give you a spiel about his research and ask to measure your brain waves.

    Sentiment, Inc. Poul William Anderson
  • "Aw, boss, that was part of the spiel," he confessed frankly.

    From Place to Place Irvin S. Cobb
  • As he reached it he could see Dave Lungs, the outside talker, climb up on the front platform to begin his spiel.

    Charley de Milo Laurence Mark Janifer AKA Larry M. Harris
  • Sit down, dearie and hold your horses till we spiel out this hand.

    Painted Veils James Huneker
  • "I don't get it," I said politely, when he'd finished his spiel.

    The Dope on Mars John Michael Sharkey
  • The minute I heard it I saw where it was hot stuff for my spiel.

    The Rules of the Game Stewart Edward White
  • But like a flash it comes to me how it would fit in to a spiel.

    The Rules of the Game Stewart Edward White
  • The side-showman was already beginning his spiel in the lot below.

    Polly of the Circus Margaret Mayo
  • I wonder the guards don't refuse their spiel at my coming and going.

British Dictionary definitions for spiel


a glib plausible style of talk, associated esp with salesmen
(intransitive) to deliver a prepared spiel
(transitive) usually foll by off. to recite (a prepared oration)
Derived Forms
spieler, noun
Word Origin
C19: from German Spiel play
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 spiel

"glib speech, pitch," 1896, probably from verb (1894) meaning "to speak in a glib manner," earlier "to play circus music" (1870), from German spielen "to play," from Old High German spilon (cognate with Old English spilian "to play"). The noun also perhaps from German Spiel "play, game."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for spiel



  1. A barker's or hawker's persuasive talk (1896+)
  2. A speech meant to persuade by force and eloquence; a sales patter; line: I'll give his honor a spiel (1896+)
  3. An advertising monologue on radio or television (1940s+)

[fr German spielen, ''play'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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