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Uncertain, but likely of North Germanic origin, akin to Danish dingle, dangle, Swedish dangla (to swing about), Norwegian dangla, perhaps via North Frisian dangeln.[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈdæŋ.ɡəl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æŋɡəl


dangle (third-person singular simple present dangles, present participle dangling, simple past and past participle dangled)

  1. (intransitive) To hang loosely with the ability to swing.
    His feet would dangle in the water.
  2. (intransitive, slang, ice hockey, lacrosse) The action of performing a move or deke with the puck in order to get past a defender or goalie; perhaps because of the resemblance to dangling the puck on a string.
    He dangled around three players and the goalie to score.
  3. (transitive) To hang or trail something loosely.
    I like to sit on the edge and dangle my feet in the water.
  4. (intransitive, dated) To trail or follow around.
    • 1833, Miller's Modern Acting Drama
      To dangle at the elbow of a wench who can't make up her mind to accept the common title of wife, till she has been courted a certain number of weeks — so the old blinker, her father, says.
  5. (medicine, intransitive) Of a patient: to be positioned with the legs hanging over the edge of the bed.
    • 1976, R. Winifred Heyward Johnson, Douglass W. Johnson, Introduction to Nursing Care (page 139)
      Record the time and duration of dangling, patient's pulse and respirations and patient's general tolerance of the procedure. [] The next step usually in getting the patient out of bed is sitting []
    • 2012, Judith M. Wilkinson, Leslie S. Treas, Pocket Nursing Skills: What You Need to Know Now
      [P]ivot to bring the patient's legs over the side of the bed. Be Smart! Stay with the patient as he dangles.
  6. (medicine, transitive) To position (a patient) in this way.
    • 2012, Judith M. Wilkinson, Leslie S. Treas, Pocket Nursing Skills: What You Need to Know Now
      Using proper body mechanics for dangling a patient at the side of the bed.
  7. This term needs a definition. Please help out and add a definition, then remove the text {{rfdef}}.
    • 2020 December 10, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, “The first movie inspired by the pandemic is here, and it sucks”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      That it happens to have been produced under the imprimatur of Michael Bay dangles the possibility of poor taste, but unfortunately, bombast and conspicuous consumption are nowhere to be found.



English Wikipedia has an article on:

dangle (plural dangles)

  1. An agent of one intelligence agency or group who pretends to be interested in defecting or turning to another intelligence agency or group.
  2. (slang, ice hockey, lacrosse) The action of dangling; a series of complex stick tricks and fakes in order to defeat the defender in style.
    That was a sick dangle for a great goal!
  3. A dangling ornament or decoration.
    • 1941, Flora Thompson, Over to Candleford:
      So her father wrote to Mrs. Herring, and one day she arrived and turned out to be a little, lean old lady with a dark brown mole on one leathery cheek and wearing a black bonnet decorated with jet dangles, like tiny fishing rods.


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “dangle”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.