[spang-guh l]


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), span·gled, span·gling.

to decorate with spangles.
to sprinkle or stud with small, bright pieces, objects, spots, etc.

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

to glitter with or like spangles.

Origin of spangle

1375–1425; late Middle English spangele (noun), equivalent to spange spangle (perhaps < Middle Dutch) + -le -le
Related formsspan·gly, adjectiveun·span·gled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spangle

Historical Examples of spangle

  • 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.

  • Sheila Kaye-Smith is not a painter, even though with dew diamonds the thorn-bush she spangle.

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


(intr) to glitter or shine with or like spangles
(tr) to decorate or cover with spangles
Derived Formsspangly, adjective

Word Origin for spangle

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

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