Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several breeds of small-sized to medium-sized dogs, usually having drooping ears, short legs, and a wavy, silky coat.
  • n. A docile or servile person.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various small breeds of gun dog having a broad muzzle, long, wavy fur and long ears that hang at the side of the head, bred for flushing and retrieving game.
  • v. To follow loyally, like a spaniel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Cringing; fawning.
  • n. One of a breed of small dogs having long and thick hair and large drooping ears. The legs are usually strongly feathered, and the tail bushy. See Illust. under clumber, and cocker.
  • n. A cringing, fawning person.
  • intransitive v. To fawn; to cringe; to be obsequious.
  • transitive v. To follow like a spaniel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A dog of a domestic breed, of medium and small sizes, with a long silky and usually curly coat, long, soft, drooping ears, feathered tail and stern, of docile, timid, and affectionate disposition, much used for sporting purposes and as pets.
  • n. Figuratively, a mean, cringing, fawning person; a blindly submissive follower: from the characteristics of the spaniel in relation to its master, or when in a state of fear.
  • Like a spaniel; fawningly submissive; mean; servile; cringing.
  • To fawn; cringe; be obsequious.
  • To follow like a spaniel.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of several breeds of small to medium-sized gun dogs with a long silky coat and long frilled ears

Etymologies

Middle English spainol, from Old French espaignol, Spaniard, Spanish dog, from Vulgar Latin *Hispāniōlus, Spanish, from Hispānia, Spain.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French espaigneul (modern épagneul), from Latin Hispaniolus ‘Spanish’, from Hispania ‘Spain’. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I think you chose a great breed for training as the Boykin spaniel is very smart dog (not biased or anything).

    Welcome to the New F&S Dog Blog

  • The Boykin spaniel is the state dog of South Carolina.

    Welcome to the New F&S Dog Blog

  • My eight year old daughter with our eight month old Boykin spaniel

    Best Gun Dog Contest

  • I can upland hunt with a lab or a chessie or a boykin, but I'm not dumb enough to suggest a retriever or a flushing spaniel is as good a pure bird finder as a brit, a setter or a pointer.

    What's The Best All-Around Hunting Dog?

  • With my dad's old boykin spaniel, we had pretty much set ourselves up for failure because we didn't have a set plan, but everything ended up working out anyhow.

    Dog-Gone Gunshyness

  • Along with the Boykin spaniel and the American water spaniel, it's a uniquely American dog.

    A Shaved Butt for Obama?

  • She’s a 12-week-old Boykin spaniel who, if I don’t ruin her in the training process, will be retrieving doves by September and ducks by the fall.

    Welcome to the New F&S Dog Blog

  • This fit the description of a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, which is a toy breed.

    Born to Bark

  • The spaniel was a generic term used to describe a type of dog.

    "'Stump the Dog.' Sounds like the easiest TV game show ever."

  • Though, truly, in spite of its bright glass eyes, the spaniel was the least successful assumption in the collection: being perfectly flat, and dismally suggestive of a recent mistake in sitting down on the part of some corpulent member of the family.

    The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices

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Comments

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  • Oh dearie me... I'm afraid this word is inextricably linked in my mind to Tom Lehrer's song "I Got It From Agnes". If you want spaniel to remain unsullied in your mind, then you definitely shouldn't watch this video.

    May 1, 2008

  • Ditto! I can't believe only two people list this word.

    May 1, 2008

  • I don't particularly like spaniels, but I do like the word. What mouthfeel.

    April 30, 2008