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[span-yuh l] /ˈspæn yəl/
one of any of several breeds of small or medium-sized dogs, usually having a long, silky coat and long, drooping ears.
a submissive, fawning, or cringing person.
Origin of spaniel
1350-1400; Middle English spaynel < Old French espaignol Spanish (dog), derivative of Espaigne Spain
Related forms
spaniellike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for spaniel
Historical Examples
  • The spaniel, resentment forgotten, danced excitedly beside him and barked continuously.

    Dope Sax Rohmer
  • She was indeed like a spaniel dog who sees her master coming.

    Fraternity John Galsworthy
  • The spaniel held the great dog in awe, and never but once was known to go to the stable to see him.

    Minnie's Pet Dog Madeline Leslie
  • And going abruptly to the bell, he trod on his spaniel's ear.

    The Country House John Galsworthy
  • I turned to Mrs. Gisburn, who had lingered to give a lump of sugar to her spaniel in the dining-room.

  • At these words the spaniel John rose from his corner and advanced to the middle of the floor.

    The Country House John Galsworthy
  • Mr. Pendyce went out at half-past ten accompanied by his bailiff and the spaniel John.

    The Country House John Galsworthy
  • Can the greyhound be trained to the pointer's scent or the spaniel to the bulldog's ferocity?

    Anecdotes of Dogs Edward Jesse
  • The Picard spaniel is a little lighter than the old spaniel.

  • At length she caught sight of the spaniel and the three remaining puppies.

    Stories of Animal Sagacity W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for spaniel


any of several breeds of gundog with long drooping ears, a silky coat, and formerly a docked tail See clumber spaniel, cocker spaniel, field spaniel, springer spaniel, Sussex spaniel, water spaniel
either of two toy breeds of spaniel See King Charles spaniel
an obsequiously devoted person
Word Origin
C14: from Old French espaigneul Spanish (dog), from Old Provençal espanhol, ultimately from Latin Hispāniolus Spanish
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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Word Origin and History for spaniel

13c., as a surname meaning "Spaniard;" as a name for a breed of dog of Spanish origin, late 14c., from Old French espagneul, literally "Spanish (dog)," from Vulgar Latin *Hispaniolus "of Spain," diminutive of Latin Hispanus "Spanish, Hispanic" (see Spaniard).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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