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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English fangelen (verb), from fangel (inclined to take, adjective), from Old English *fangol, *fangel (inclined to take), from fōn (to take, seize). Compare Old English andfangol (undertaker, contractor), Old English underfangelnes (undertaking, hospitality), Middle English fangen (to take, seize, catch), German fangen (to catch). More at fang, onfang.


fangle (third-person singular simple present fangles, present participle fangling, simple past and past participle fangled)

  1. (obsolete or dialectal) To fashion, manufacture, invent, or create.
    • 1641, John Milton, Of Prelatical Episcopacy[1]:
      [] not hereby to control and new fangle the Scripture, God forbid, but to mark how corruption and apostasy crept in by degrees, and to gather up wherever we find the remaining sparks of original truth, []
    • Jonathan Swift (1726) Gulliver's Travels, 1st edition: “But I have since found that the sea Yahoos are apt, like the land ones, to become new-fangled in their words, which the latter change every year; insomuch, as I remember upon each return to my own country their old dialect was so altered, that I could hardly understand the new.”
  2. (obsolete or dialectal) To trim showily; entangle; hang about.
  3. (obsolete or dialectal) To waste time; trifle.
Usage notes[edit]

Although obsolete in general English, the verb is still occasionally used in some regions, and is retained in the expression newfangled.

Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Back-formation from newfangled (adjective) as if new + fangle (noun). See newfangle.


fangle (plural fangles)

  1. (obsolete) A prop; a taking up; a new thing.
  2. Something newly fashioned; a novelty, a new fancy.
  3. A foolish innovation; a gewgaw; a trifling ornament.
  4. A conceit; whim.
Derived terms[edit]