[ span-yuh l ]
/ ˈspæn yəl /


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

Origin of spaniel

1350–1400; Middle English spaynel < Old French espaignol Spanish (dog), derivative of Espaigne Spain
Related formsspan·iel·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spaniel

British Dictionary definitions for spaniel


/ (ˈspænjəl) /


any of several breeds of gundog with long drooping ears, a silky coat, and formerly a docked tailSee clumber spaniel, cocker spaniel, field spaniel, springer spaniel, Sussex spaniel, water spaniel
either of two toy breeds of spanielSee King Charles spaniel
an obsequiously devoted person

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for spaniel



13c., as a surname meaning "Spaniard;" as a name for a breed of dog of Spanish origin, late 14c., from Old French espagneul, literally "Spanish (dog)," from Vulgar Latin *Hispaniolus "of Spain," diminutive of Latin Hispanus "Spanish, Hispanic" (see Spaniard).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper