verb (used without object), dan·gled, dan·gling.

verb (used with object), dan·gled, dan·gling.

to cause to dangle; hold or carry swaying loosely.
to offer as an inducement.


the act of dangling.
something that dangles.


    keep someone dangling, to keep someone in a state of uncertainty.

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dangling

Contemporary Examples of dangling

Historical Examples of dangling

  • Joe appeared at the door, drying his hands on the dangling towel.

    The Bondboy

    George W. (George Washington) Ogden

  • Up and up it still went, with poor Snoop dangling helplessly at the end of the swaying tail.

    The Bobbsey Twins

    Laura Lee Hope

  • Dangling from a jagged piece of rock half way down the cliff, we found Polly Mathers's coat, torn and drabbled with mud.

  • In the crowding which ensued many men fell amongst the now dangling wires, some pushed through, and some could find no gap.

  • Its arms were dangling loosely; I heard one of its mailed hands clank against its sides.

British Dictionary definitions for dangling



to hang or cause to hang freelyhis legs dangled over the wall
(tr) to display as an enticementthe hope of a legacy was dangled before her


the act of dangling or something that dangles
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 dangling



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper