from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A rod or pin, tapered at one end and usually weighted at the other, on which fibers are spun by hand into thread and then wound.
  • noun A similar rod or pin used for spinning on a spinning wheel.
  • noun A pin or rod holding a bobbin or spool on which thread is wound on an automated spinning machine.
  • noun Any of various mechanical parts that revolve or serve as axes for larger revolving parts, as in a lock, axle, phonograph turntable, or lathe.
  • noun Any of various long thin stationary rods, as.
  • noun A spike on which papers may be impaled.
  • noun A baluster.
  • noun Biology A cytoplasmic network composed of microtubules along which the chromosomes are distributed during mitosis and meiosis.
  • intransitive verb To furnish or equip with a spindle or spindles.
  • intransitive verb To impale or perforate on a spindle.
  • intransitive verb To grow into a thin, elongated, or weak form.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To shoot or grow in a long, slender stalk or body.
  • noun In hand-spinning, a small bar, usually of wood, hung to the end of the thread as it is first drawn from the mass of fiber on the distaff.
  • noun The pin which is used in spinning-wheels for twisting the thread, and on which the thread, when twisted, is wound. See cut under spinning-wheel.
  • noun One of the skewers or axes of a spinning-machine upon which a bobbin is placed to wind the yarn as it is spun. See cut under spinning-jenny.
  • noun Any slender pointed rod or pin which turns round, or on which anything turns.
  • noun Something having the form of a spindle (sense 1); a fusiform object.
  • noun The roll of not yet unfolded leaves on a growing plant of Indian corn.
  • noun In conchology, a spindle shell.
  • noun In anatomy, a fusiform part or organ.
  • noun A spindle-cell.
  • noun The inner segment of a rod or cone of the bacillary layer of the retina. See cut under retina.
  • noun In embryology, one of the fusiform figures produced by chromatin fibers in the process of karyokinesis.
  • noun In geometry, a solid generated by the revolution of the arc of a curve-line about its chord, in opposition to a conoid, which is a solid generated by the revolution of a curve about its axis.
  • noun A measure of yarn: in cotton a spindle of 18 hanks is 15.120 yards; in linen a spindle of 48 cuts is 14,400 yards.
  • noun A long slender stalk.
  • noun Something very thin and slender.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To shoot or grow into a long, slender stalk or body; to become disproportionately tall and slender.
  • noun The long, round, slender rod or pin in spinning wheels by which the thread is twisted, and on which, when twisted, it is wound; also, the pin on which the bobbin is held in a spinning machine, or in the shuttle of a loom.
  • noun A slender rod or pin on which anything turns; an axis.
  • noun (Mach.) The shaft, mandrel, or arbor, in a machine tool, as a lathe or drilling machine, etc., which causes the work to revolve, or carries a tool or center, etc.
  • noun (Mach.) The vertical rod on which the runner of a grinding mill turns.
  • noun (Founding) A shaft or pipe on which a core of sand is formed.
  • noun The fusee of a watch.
  • noun A long and slender stalk resembling a spindle.
  • noun A yarn measure containing, in cotton yarn, 15,120 yards; in linen yarn, 14,400 yards.
  • noun (Geom.) A solid generated by the revolution of a curved line about its base or double ordinate or chord.
  • noun Any marine univalve shell of the genus Rostellaria; -- called also spindle stromb.
  • noun Any marine gastropod of the genus Fusus.
  • noun (Mach.) a spindle in a machine tool that does not revolve; the spindle of the tailstock of a lathe.
  • noun (Mach.) the revolving spindle of a machine tool; the spindle of the headstock of a turning lathe.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Spindle, 7. above.
  • noun [R.] the female side in descent; in the female line; opposed to spear side.
  • noun (Bot.) any shrub or tree of the genus Eunymus. The wood of E. Europæus was used for spindles and skewers. See Prickwood.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English spindel, alteration of Old English spinel; see (s)pen- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English spinel


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  • He was only obeying the universal law of nature--the law which prompts the pallid spindling sprout of the potato in the cellar to strive feebly toward the light.

    - Harold Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware, ch. 18

    August 8, 2008

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