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See also: Spindle


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English spyndel, spindle, spyndylle, from Old English spindle, spindel, alteration of earlier spinel, spinil, spinl (spindle), from Proto-West Germanic *spinnilu (spindle), equivalent to spin +‎ -le. Cognate with Scots spindil, spinnell (spindle), Dutch spindel ("spindle"; < Middle Dutch spille, spinle), German Spindel (spindle), Danish spindel (spindle), Swedish spindel (spindle).


  • IPA(key): /ˈspɪndəl/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: spin‧dle
  • Rhymes: -ɪndəl


a shepherd spinning yarn with a spindle

spindle (plural spindles)

  1. (spinning) A rod used for spinning and then winding natural fibres (especially wool), usually consisting of a shaft and a circular whorl positioned at either the upper or lower end of the shaft when suspended vertically from the forming thread.
    • 2005 [1868–9], Anthony Briggs, transl., War and Peace, Penguin Classics, translation of Война́ и миръ by Leo Tolstoy, Volume I, Part 1, Chapter 3, page 13:
      Anna Pavlovna’s soirée was now in full swing. On all sides the spindles were humming away non-stop.
  2. A rod which turns, or on which something turns.
    the spindle of a vane
    • 2012 March, Henry Petroski, “Opening Doors”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 2, pages 112–3:
      A doorknob of whatever roundish shape is effectively a continuum of levers, with the axis of the latching mechanism—known as the spindle—being the fulcrum about which the turning takes place.
  3. A rotary axis of a machine tool or power tool.
  4. Certain of the species of the genus Euonymus, originally used for making the spindles used for spinning wool.
  5. An upright spike for holding paper documents by skewering.
  6. The fusee of a watch.
  7. A long and slender stalk resembling a spindle.
  8. A yarn measure containing, in cotton yarn, 15,120 yards; in linen yarn, 14,400 yards.
  9. (geometry) A solid generated by the revolution of a curved line about its base or double ordinate or chord.
  10. Any marine univalve shell of the genus Tibia; a spindle stromb.
  11. Any marine gastropod with a spindle-shaped shell formerly in one of the three invalid genera called Fusus.
  12. (biology) A cytoskeletal structure formed during mitosis
  13. (coastal New Jersey) a dragonfly, calque of Swedish slända (dragonfly/spindle), introduced by New Sweden settlers.
  14. (computing) A plastic container for packaging optical discs. Bulk blank CDs, DVDs, and BDs are often sold in such a package.
  15. A muscle spindle.
  16. A sleep spindle.
    • 2010, Human Sleep and Cognition: Basic Research, page 10:
      One of the fascinating characteristics of sleep spindles is that they are generated by the thalamic reticular nucleus, and do not occur in the presence of NE. In fact, LC neurons fall silent in the second preceding each spindle []



  • (a tree from the Euonymus genus): euonymus

Derived terms[edit]



spindle (third-person singular simple present spindles, present participle spindling, simple past and past participle spindled)

  1. (transitive) To make into a long tapered shape.
  2. (intransitive) To take on a long tapered shape.
  3. (transitive) To impale on a device for holding paper documents.
    Do not fold, spindle or mutilate this document.


Further reading[edit]


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of spyndel