Definition of wangle in English:



[with object]informal
  • Manage to obtain (something) by persuading or cleverly manipulating someone.

    ‘I wangled an invitation to her party’
    ‘I think we should be able to wangle it so that you can start tomorrow’
    • ‘If anyone could have dreamed up an unlikely idea like the Wooden Horse and wangled his way into Troy, he would have.’
    • ‘Having wangled a job on the support staff - ‘the best grounding I could have had’ - she had daily access to the editors and decision-makers in every title.’
    • ‘When I was trying to wangle invitations to Washington to talk about this stuff, they would get private investors to hop on a plane and fly to New Haven to see it.’
    • ‘Will Lola and Ella be able to get to the concert, wangle invitations to Stu's party afterward, and face down Carla?’
    • ‘I wangled a trip to one of its conferences in Miami a few years ago and was bowled over by the quality of access that journalists, members of the public enjoy, to basic public information.’
    • ‘Anjali Sircar, tired of room hunting, asked her distant cousin, Yash, to pretend to be her fiancé and wangled a single room at Khar.’
    • ‘Bannister had wangled a continuance of the trial, but unless he could produce Pike, Hardiman's chances looked slim.’
    • ‘I had to wangle the cheddar cheese away from our other sous-chef, Eric, who was holding onto it for some as-yet-unbooked private party.’
    • ‘When I was younger, I used to wangle my way on to the table most weekends.’
    • ‘The Professor manages to wangle a job as the producer's assistant and is given responsibility for many of the production details.’
    • ‘In Alabama, you must shoot a doe before you wangle a buck permit.’
    • ‘Unless Barrett can wangle an extended stay in Dundee.’
    • ‘So if you're determined to land a tutor, you need to wangle invites to all those College dinners at High Table.’
    • ‘So she wangled nights out with four such desirable men and reported back on the pros and cons of the ‘perfect’ dates.’
    • ‘‘I managed to wangle that,’ he admits, ‘I'm experienced, and that got me through.’’
    • ‘A busy couple of days ensues: I managed to wangle out of the workplace Christmas do this year, but our own department's Christmas lunch is coming up.’
    • ‘You can wangle only so much for TV-rights packages; only sell so many replica shirts; only cram so many punters inside your ground.’
    • ‘Also, companies are keen to wangle best prices from their sales reps, a tactic which ignores - its telesales team is not to negotiate on price.’
    • ‘I came home today instead of tomorrow, I was able to wangle myself a seat on a navy transport from Groton.’
    • ‘The Oxford history graduate scoffs at the idea that his father somehow wangled him the job of co-presenting and researching the programme and accompanying book.’
    contrive, manipulate, manoeuvre, engineer, devise, orchestrate, fix, arrange, direct, conduct, handle, work, pull off, scheme, plot
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  • An act or an instance of obtaining something by persuasion or clever manipulation.

    ‘a rather clever wangle on the part of some of the folk at the office’
    • ‘One Labour MP hinted that Smith's case was a wangle, and mentioned other sportsmen and celebrities who had returned home quickly after call-up.’


Late 19th century (first recorded as printers' slang): of unknown origin; perhaps based on the verb waggle.