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verb (used without object), dan·gled, dan·gling.
  1. to hang loosely, especially with a jerking or swaying motion: The rope dangled in the breeze.
  2. to hang around or follow a person, as if seeking favor or attention.
  3. Grammar. to occur as a modifier without a head or as a participle without an implied subject, as leaving the tunnel in The daylight was blinding, leaving the tunnel.
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verb (used with object), dan·gled, dan·gling.
  1. to cause to dangle; hold or carry swaying loosely.
  2. to offer as an inducement.
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  1. the act of dangling.
  2. something that dangles.
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  1. keep someone dangling, to keep someone in a state of uncertainty.
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Origin of dangle

1580–90; expressive word akin to Norwegian, Swedish dangla, Danish dangle dangle
Related formsdan·gler, noundan·gling·ly, adverb

Synonyms for dangle

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for dangle

droop, sling, hang, swing, sway, flap, lure, depend, tantalize, wave, trail, flaunt, entice, tempt, flourish, brandish

Examples from the Web for dangle

Contemporary Examples of dangle

Historical Examples of dangle

British Dictionary definitions for dangle


  1. to hang or cause to hang freelyhis legs dangled over the wall
  2. (tr) to display as an enticementthe hope of a legacy was dangled before her
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  1. the act of dangling or something that dangles
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Derived Formsdangler, noundanglingly, adverb

Word Origin for dangle

C16: perhaps from Danish dangle, probably of imitative origin
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

Word Origin and History for dangle


1590s, probably from Scandinavian (cf. Danish dangle, Swedish dangla "to swing about," Norwegian dangla), perhaps via North Frisian dangeln. Related: Dangled; dangling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper