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[wang-guh l] /ˈwæŋ gəl/
verb (used with object), wangled, wangling.
to bring about, accomplish, or obtain by scheming or underhand methods:
to wangle an invitation.
to falsify or manipulate for dishonest ends:
to wangle business records.
verb (used without object), wangled, wangling.
to use contrivance, scheming, or underhand methods to obtain some goal or result.
to manipulate something for dishonest ends.
an act or instance of wangling.
Origin of wangle
1810-20; blend of wag (the tongue) and dangle (about someone, i.e., hang around someone, court someone's favor)
Related forms
wangler, noun
Can be confused
wangle, wrangle.
1. maneuver, finagle, engineer, wheedle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wangle
Historical Examples
  • He never did a stroke of work that he could possibly "wangle" out of.

    Life in a Tank Richard Haigh
  • But you've not managed badly to wangle a 'second', have you, Snowy and Daddles?

    Loyal to the School Angela Brazil
  • I said, feeling bewildered, and flurried, and amused all at once: "What is 'wangle'?"

    Miss Million's Maid Bertha Ruck
  • I don't believe it's allowed, but he's sure to be able to wangle it.

    The Secret Battle A. P. Herbert
  • The men keep an eye on the watches and "wangle" for the last second.

    A Yankee in the Trenches R. Derby Holmes
  • Dalrymple told me he rather fancied he could wangle me a bungalow.

  • Now, it is impossible to "wangle" a man who sits over you with a reflecting mirror screwed into his right eye.

    Caught by the Turks Francis Yeats-Brown
  • Jerry—a gay and reckless being—had fell designs on the Flying Corps, the very first moment he could 'wangle it.'

    Far to Seek Maud Diver
  • It had taken him until his senior midterm vacation to wangle an invitation to the dome-house on Luna.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • Other secretaries had used their nearness to him to wangle acting or dancing or singing assignments on other and lesser shows.

    Operation: Outer Space

    William Fitzgerald Jenkins
British Dictionary definitions for wangle


(transitive) to use devious or illicit methods to get or achieve (something) for (oneself or another): he wangled himself a salary increase
to manipulate or falsify (a situation, action, etc)
the act or an instance of wangling
Derived Forms
wangler, noun
Word Origin
C19: originally printers' slang, perhaps a blend of waggle and dialect wankle wavering, from Old English wancol; compare Old High German wankōn to waver
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 wangle

"obtain something by trickery," 1888, originally British printer's slang for "fake by manipulation;" perhaps an alteration of waggle, or of wankle (now dialectal) "unsteady, fickle," from Old English wancol (see wench). Brought into wider use by World War I soldiers.

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



: made a precise science out of the wangle


To get or arrange by shrewd maneuvering; contrive cunningly: President Truman has given Ching a free hand in trying to wangle agreements (1880s+ British printers' slang)

[origin unknown; perhaps a form of waggle, ''overcome, get the better of''; popularized by WWI soldiers]

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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