Definition of spaniel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈspanyəl/


1A dog of a breed with a long silky coat and drooping ears.
Example sentences
  • In the Middle Ages, a type of spaniel was bred, the ancestor of some of our modern spaniels, that would naturally crouch when it located game.
  • I have also seen under-exercised dogs, spaniels in particular, lie around in a depressed and emotionally blackmailing way, glancing with sad brown eyes out of the window until you give in and throw yourself into a gale force 9.
  • The feet should be examined daily, especially the hairy types of dog such as spaniels, for the presence of thorns.
1.1Used in similes and metaphors as a symbol of devotion or obsequiousness: I followed my uncles around as faithfully as any spaniel


Middle English: from Old French espaigneul 'Spanish (dog)', from Latin Hispaniolus 'Spanish'.

  • The Spanish origin of this breed is shown in the name, which is a form of Old French espaigneul ‘Spanish [dog]’. The breed had long had a reputation for its submissive nature, and is first found used as an adjective in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar ‘Low-crooked-curtsies, and base Spaniell fawning.’ This sense is most often found today in the expression Spaniel eyes.

Words that rhyme with spaniel

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