Definition of spool in English:

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Pronunciation: /spo͞ol/


1A cylindrical device on which film, magnetic tape, thread, or other flexible materials can be wound; a reel: spools of electrical cable
More example sentences
  • As it turns, the moulin draws the warp threads from another device that holds a row of spools, the separate threads coming together into a single skein as they are wound onto the frame.
  • Startlingly, her creative materials include marker caps, spools of thread, tacks, stickers, and pipe cleaners.
  • The expatriate's urban cityscape is assembled from large spools of colored thread, empty liquor bottles, and toy cars.
1.1A cylindrical device attached to a fishing rod and used for winding and unwinding the line as required.
Example sentences
  • They're basically spools of line hung on the wall with bells attached.
1.2 [as modifier] Denoting furniture of a style popular in England in the 17th century and North America in the 19th century, typically ornamented with a series of small knobs resembling spools: a narrow spool bed


1 [with object] Wind (magnetic tape or thread) onto a spool: he was trying to spool his tapes back into the cassettes with a pencil eraser
More example sentences
  • Tapes with dual-reel cartridges eliminate the need for spooling the tape into the drive and cut the time to access data dramatically.
1.1 [no object] Be wound on or off a spool: the plastic reel allows the line to run free as it spools out
More example sentences
  • He looked from his subject to the plastic window of the cassette recorder where the tape spooled.
  • Like a movie reel spooling back on itself the Irish piled back into their wagon, and with a newly elected driver turned her round and trudged back up the slope and out of the valley.
  • Concentrating, he could hear the tape spooling.
2 [with object] Computing Send (data that is intended for printing or processing on a peripheral device) to an intermediate store: users can set which folder they wish to spool files to
Acronym from simultaneous peripheral operation online
More example sentences
  • This keeps heavy print traffic off the network and allows commonly-used forms, fonts and signatures to be stored on the printer, so they don't have to be spooled across the network.
3 [no object] (Of an engine) increase its speed of rotation, typically to that required for operation: a jet engine can take up to six seconds to spool up
More example sentences
  • I jammed the throttles up, but the engines barely spooled up before I throttled back per my director's signal.
  • The No.1 engine spooled up slower than the other three, which required a small nosewheel-steering input to maintain centerline.
  • The helicopter rattled a bit, the engine spooled back up, and Nr rapidly rose to 100 percent.


Middle English (denoting a cylinder onto which spun thread is wound): shortening of Old French espole or from Middle Low German spōle, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch spoel and German Spule. The verb dates from the early 17th century.

Words that rhyme with spool

Banjul, befool, Boole, boule, boules, boulle, cagoule, cool, drool, fool, ghoul, Joule, mewl, misrule, mule, O'Toole, pool, Poole, pul, pule, Raoul, rule, school, shul, sool, Stamboul, stool, Thule, tomfool, tulle, you'll, yule

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: spool

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