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

to bring about, accomplish, or obtain by scheming or underhand methods: to wangle an invitation.
to falsify or manipulate for dishonest ends: to wangle business records.

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

to use contrivance, scheming, or underhand methods to obtain some goal or result.
to manipulate something for dishonest ends.


an act or instance of wangling.

Origin of wangle

1810–20; blend of wag (the tongue) and dangle (about someone, i.e., hang around someone, court someone's favor)
Related formswan·gler, noun
Can be confusedwangle wrangle

Synonyms for wangle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wangle

Historical Examples of wangle

  • He never did a stroke of work that he could possibly "wangle" out of.

    Life in a Tank

    Richard Haigh

  • But you've not managed badly to wangle a 'second', have you, Snowy and Daddles?

    Loyal to the School

    Angela Brazil

  • I said, feeling bewildered, and flurried, and amused all at once: "What is 'wangle'?"

  • I don't believe it's allowed, but he's sure to be able to wangle it.

    The Secret Battle

    A. P. Herbert

  • The men keep an eye on the watches and "wangle" for the last second.

British Dictionary definitions for wangle



(tr) to use devious or illicit methods to get or achieve (something) for (oneself or another)he wangled himself a salary increase
to manipulate or falsify (a situation, action, etc)


the act or an instance of wangling
Derived Formswangler, noun

Word Origin for wangle

C19: originally printers' slang, perhaps a blend of waggle and dialect wankle wavering, from Old English wancol; compare Old High German wankōn to waver
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 wangle

"obtain something by trickery," 1888, originally British printer's slang for "fake by manipulation;" perhaps an alteration of waggle, or of wankle (now dialectal) "unsteady, fickle," from Old English wancol (see wench). Brought into wider use by World War I soldiers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper