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[span-suh l] /ˈspæn səl/
a noosed rope with which to hobble an animal, especially a horse or cow.
verb (used with object), spanceled, spanceling or (especially British) spancelled, spancelling.
to fetter with or as with a spancel.
Origin of spancel
1600-10; < Low German spansel, derivative of spannen to stretch; see span2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for spancel
Historical Examples
  • As my horse was straying toward the west side of the clearing I went to fetch him back and spancel him near the fort.

    A Virginia Scout Hugh Pendexter
  • My wrist-cords were loosed, my ankles were fastened only with a spancel, and strong hands jerked me to my feet.

    A Virginia Scout Hugh Pendexter
  • Langel; to tie the fore and the hind leg of a cow or goat with a spancel or fetter to prevent it going over fences.

  • I ordered my servant to spancel the mules, and tether the horse to a shrub by a long rope.

British Dictionary definitions for spancel


a length of rope for hobbling an animal, esp a horse or cow
verb -cels, -celling, -celled (US) -cels, -celing, -celed
(transitive) to hobble (an animal) with a loose rope
Word Origin
C17: from Low German spansel, from spannen to stretch; see span²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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