adjective, spin·dli·er, spin·dli·est.

long or tall, thin, and usually frail: The colt wobbled on its spindly legs.

Origin of spindly

First recorded in 1645–55; spindle + -y1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for spindly

lanky, rangy, slender, frail, skinny, elongated, weak, lank

Examples from the Web for spindly

Contemporary Examples of spindly

Historical Examples of spindly

  • When they had mounted, Spindly started off as suddenly as hours before it had stopped.

    The Phantom Yacht

    Carol Norton

  • Did you notice what prodigiously long fingers he had, and what spindly legs?

    White Fire

    Roy J. Snell

  • When he threw open his long, spindly arms and screeched a loud, "Ahh!"

    The Telenizer

    Don Thompson

  • This officer was over six foot, while I was a spindly little fellow.

  • Pink touched the herons wings, its beak, its head, its glittering beady eyes and spindly leg.

    I, Mary MacLane

    Mary MacLane

British Dictionary definitions for spindly


adjective -dlier or -dliest

tall, slender, and frail; attenuated
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 spindly

1650s, from spindle + -y (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper