Definition of spool in English:


Syllabification: spool
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.
More 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


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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]
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.

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