Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Wangle

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is wangle. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Wangle means “to get (something) by trickery or persuasion.” It can also mean “to adjust or manipulate for personal or fraudulent ends.”

// He managed to wangle his way into the party.

// They wangled me into pleading guilty.

WANGLE in Context

“Discussions of how to wangle free shipping or discounts dovetailed with a proposition that the group start a fund-raiser for a family in need—a worthy use for money saved.” — Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, 27 Mar. 2021

Did You Know?

You may have noticed a striking resemblance between wangle and wrangle, both of which have a sense meaning “to obtain or finagle.” But the two do not share a common history: wrangle is centuries older than wangle, and despite their overlap in both meaning and appearance, wangle is believed to have evolved separately by way of waggle, meaning “to move from side to side.” (Wrangle, by contrast, comes from the Old High German word ringan, meaning “to struggle.”) It’s possible, though, that wangle saved the “obtain” sense of wrangle from the brink of obsolescence—until recent decades, this usage had all but disappeared, and its revival may very well have been influenced by wangle. We wish we could wangle conclusive evidence to support this theory, but alas!

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