Definitions

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

  • n. A lengthy or extravagant speech or argument usually intended to persuade.
  • transitive v. To talk or say (something) at length or extravagantly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A lengthy and extravagant speech or argument usually intended to persuade.
  • n. A fast excuse or sales pitch.
  • v. To talk at length.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A game; play; a curling-match.
  • n. Talk; a yarn; lingo; patter.

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

  • v. replay (as a melody)
  • n. plausible glib talk (especially useful to a salesperson)
  • v. speak at great length (about something)

Etymologies

German, play, or Yiddish shpil, both from Middle High German spil, from Old High German.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
The word has two possible etymologies: (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • German

    das Spiel (n.) - a game; backlash

    spielen (v.) - to play

    I had never seen this word in writing before, except in German class. Then, one day, trying to write about someone who had given a spiel, I looked it up and could not believe they were spelled exactly the same way. I will always feel odd using this word now.

    September 19, 2009

  • verb, to reel off; recite : he solemnly spieled all he knew.

    April 8, 2007