Definition of spaniel in US English:



  • 1A dog of a breed with a long silky coat and drooping ears.

    • ‘At night, Timothy's dog, a black and white spaniel, sits by the front door, waiting.’
    • ‘Surely a pug is no match for the loyalty of a spaniel?’
    • ‘In the Middle Ages, a type of spaniel was bred, the ancestor of some of our modern spaniels, that would naturally crouch when it located game.’
    • ‘The spaniel's hunting talents quickly made the dog a favorite in England.’
    • ‘One day he took me for a walk with Miko, one of his dogs, an ancient milky-eyed spaniel.’
    • ‘I have also seen under-exercised dogs, spaniels in particular, lie around in a depressed and emotionally blackmailing way, glancing with sad brown eyes out of the window until you give in and throw yourself into a gale force 9.’
    • ‘The feet should be examined daily, especially the hairy types of dog such as spaniels, for the presence of thorns.’
    minion, lackey, hireling, subordinate, underling, servant, retainer, vassal
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    1. 1.1 Used in similes and metaphors as a symbol of devotion or obsequiousness.
      ‘I followed my uncles around as faithfully as any spaniel’
      sycophant, toady, lackey, flunkey, minion, stooge, kowtower, truckler, groveller, crawler, creep, fawner, flatterer, lickspittle, uriah heep, puppet, cat's paw, instrument, pawn, underling, hanger-on, camp follower, doormat
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Middle English: from Old French espaigneul ‘Spanish (dog)’, from Latin Hispaniolus ‘Spanish’.