Professional Style

Wangle vs. Wrangle

February 2014
Spot the Error

Bruce had given his teenaged daughter $40 to spend at the mall, but she was certain she could wrangle an extra $20 from him by batting her eyelashes and calling him “daddy.”

When you think of wrangle, do you think of a cowboy wearing Wrangler jeans, sitting astride a horse, herding animals? Good, you should. Because a wrangler is a person in charge of horses on a ranch. And wrangle—a back-formation of wrangler—is what the wrangler does. Additionally, wrangle means to quarrel angrily. Unfortunately, neither of these definitions fit the “mall” sentence above.

In the “mall” sentence, Bruce’s daughter is trying to obtain an extra $20 from her father through sly or devious methods. That’s wangle. Wangle is synonymous with finagle and similar in meaning to manipulate. So, if you’re “working an angle,” think of wangle.

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