early 15c., "small piece of glittering metal," diminutive of spang "glittering ornament, spangle," probably from Middle Dutch spange "brooch, clasp," cognate with Old English spang "buckle, clasp," from Proto-Germanic *spango, from an extended form of PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin."
1540s, "cover with spangles," from spangle (n.). Intransitive meaning "glitter, glisten" is from 1630s. Related: Spangled; spangling.
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