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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ At the edge of the lawn, one tree stood, a spindly silver maple.
▪ His spindly arms grab on to the statue, and he hoists himself up higher.
▪ One, a grade-school boy with spindly arms and legs, rode, unaided, a stationary bicycle.
▪ The older trees grow spindly and, their immune systems weakened, fall prey to infestation of beetles and disease.
▪ The plants on the windowsill were spindly and yellowing.
▪ The trunks often contort into spindly curves and twists.
▪ When you hit them, you knock out their spindly legs and their big bodies come flying right through your windshield.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Spindly \Spin"dly\, a. Long and slender, or disproportionately tall and slender; as, spindly legs.. Used in some cases to suggest weakness.

Syn: spindling. [PJC]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1650s, from spindle + -y (2). Related: Spindliness.\n


a. Characteristic of a spindle; slender and of weak appearance.

  1. adj. long and lean [syn: lank]

  2. [also: spindliest, spindlier]

Usage examples of "spindly".

Sidereal light illuminated the diaphanous membranes, devoid of color, the delicate antennae, the feminine waist and long, improbably spindly legs and arms that shone as if covered with tiny scales, the face with its bulging, faceted eyes, and the attenuated tongue, still searching.

Ginkgo, a primitive, weird, spindly tree, here about four feet high, with a bilobed, fan-shaped leaf unlike any other.

Dorrin, who looks spindly even beside the broad-shouldered Kadara, to Brede and back to the apprentice healer.

I need a pick to clean out my musth gland, and those spindly things are just the right size.

That Elayne was Daughter-Heir produced none, though that was a high position among the wetlanders, and that she was Green Ajah and Nynaeve Yellow received sniffs from Nesta din Reas and sharp looks from the spindly old man.

As Santar watched him move, he marveled at how his brother had grown just in the last few months, gaining the gawky, spindly proportions of an adolescent.

She looked down at the cut, and at the many spindly gantries and catwalks that spanned the aperture or hung some way toward the centre of the Moat.

Giant lentils on spindly legs alternated with vast stripy cylinders poised on metal scaffolds.

The parked skiffs glowed orange in the early light, their spindly legs and lenticular bodies casting long shadows out over the water like tall, striding tripedal machines.

They had been cut off just below the knees and, unhemmed, hung flapping with every step he took above a stretch of white-socked, spindly shanks.

As the sailors retreated, the Archai reached him on their spindly legs.

The orange soil was speckled by thickets of gray-green tamarisk and spindly catclaw trees, while crests of dark basalt wound across the valley floor like the shattered vestiges of some ancient and long-forgotten rampart.

Another was a black woman, Ethiope or Nubian, and she of course had paddle feet and spindly calves and a behind like a balcony, but she was otherwise fairly comely: pretty face with not too-everted lips, shapely bosom and fine long hands.

The chief was a lean, spindly man, outwardly dour, but with a puckish sense of humor and who still talked in a broad Glaswegian accent, though for forty years he had been no nearer Scotland than an occasional Burns Night dinner in San Francisco.

In the middle of this one sat a huge black spider -- no, a machine shaped as a spider, with many long spindly legs arrayed about a central cabin large as a small cottage.