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[swod-l] /ˈswɒd l/
verb (used with object), swaddled, swaddling.
to bind (an infant, especially a newborn infant) with long, narrow strips of cloth to prevent free movement; wrap tightly with clothes.
to wrap (anything) round with bandages.
a long, narrow strip of cloth used for swaddling or bandaging.
Origin of swaddle
1375-1425; late Middle English, in suadiling (gerund); akin by gradation to Middle English swethel (noun), Old English; see swathe1, -le
Related forms
unswaddled, adjective
unswaddling, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for swaddle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But she had preferred to swaddle and nurse her feeling of offence, and coquet at the same time with Mashko.

    Children of the Soil Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • He wanted to take the serape of the grandee and swaddle him in it.

  • Come, come, strap and string down; swaddle it round wi' sax dizzen o' wheelbands, and fasten a steel-belted fur cap ower aboon a'.

  • Why don't you swaddle him round with good tight girths, or secure his natural tub with a strong sorb-apple-tree hoop?

  • The one thing she would not buy was a sewing machine to make her own swaddle with, as Ilse economically counselled.

    The Pastor's Wife Elizabeth von Arnim
  • The swaddle is a piece of stout cloth about a yard square, to one corner of which is attached a long narrow band.

    The Syrian Christ Abraham Mitrie Rihbany
  • They take a live man, let us say Sergey Golovin, they swaddle him as a doll and they hang him by the neck until he is dead.

    The Seven who were Hanged Leonid Andreyev
  • There would be sad screaming and kicking were I to swaddle mine in stone-work.

    Imaginary Conversations and Poems Walter Savage Landor
British Dictionary definitions for swaddle


verb (transitive)
to wind a bandage round
to wrap (a baby) in swaddling clothes
to restrain as if by wrapping with bandages; smother
(mainly US) swaddling clothes
Word Origin
C15: from Old English swæthel swaddling clothes; related to swathian to swathe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for swaddle

c.1300, probably a frequentative form of Old English swaþian (see swathe). Related: Swaddled; swaddling. Phrase swaddling clothes is from Coverdale (1535) translation of Luke ii:7.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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