[ span-yuhl ]

  1. one of any of several breeds of small or medium-sized dogs, usually having a long, silky coat and long, drooping ears.

  2. a submissive, fawning, or cringing person.

Origin of spaniel

1350–1400; Middle English spaynel<Old French espaignolSpanish (dog), derivative of EspaigneSpain

Other words from spaniel

  • span·iel·like, adjective

Words Nearby spaniel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use spaniel in a sentence

  • Suddenly the spaniel leapt up with that feverish, spider-like activity of the toy species and began to bark.

    Dope | Sax Rohmer
  • The driver stopped of his own accord, and inquired what had happened, and then they saw that it was a spaniel that was hurt.

    Minnie's Pet Monkey | Madeline Leslie
  • The spaniel held the great dog in awe, and never but once was known to go to the stable to see him.

    Minnie's Pet Dog | Madeline Leslie

British Dictionary definitions for spaniel


/ (ˈspænjəl) /

  1. any of several breeds of gundog with long drooping ears, a silky coat, and formerly a docked tail: See clumber spaniel, cocker spaniel, field spaniel, springer spaniel, Sussex spaniel, water spaniel

  2. either of two toy breeds of spaniel: See King Charles spaniel

  1. an obsequiously devoted person

Origin of spaniel

C14: from Old French espaigneul Spanish (dog), from Old Provençal espanhol, ultimately from Latin Hispāniolus Spanish

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