Etymology
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spindle (n.)

early 13c., with unetymological -d-, from Old English spinel "small wooden bar used in hand-spinning," properly "an instrument for spinning," from stem of spinnan (see spin (v.)) + instrumental suffix -el (1). Compare handle, thimble, etc.

Related to Old Saxon spinnila, Old Frisian spindel, Old High German spinnila, German Spindel. As a type of something slender, it is attested from 1570s. As with distaff, sometimes formerly used as a metonym for "the female sex," as in Old English spinelhealf "female line of descent," distinguished from sperehealf "male line of descent."

updated on October 28, 2016

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Definitions of spindle from WordNet

spindle (n.)
(biology) tiny fibers that are seen in cell division; the fibers radiate from two poles and meet at the equator in the middle;
chromosomes are distributed by spindles in mitosis and meiosis
spindle (n.)
a piece of wood that has been turned on a lathe; used as a baluster, chair leg, etc.;
spindle (n.)
any of various rotating shafts that serve as axes for larger rotating parts;
Synonyms: mandrel / mandril / arbor
spindle (n.)
a stick or pin used to twist the yarn in spinning;
spindle (n.)
any holding device consisting of a rigid, sharp-pointed object;
Synonyms: spike
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.