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[dan-dl] /ˈdæn dl/
verb (used with object), dandled, dandling.
to move (a baby, child, etc.) lightly up and down, as on one's knee or in one's arms.
to pet; pamper.
Origin of dandle
1520-30; dand- (obscurely akin to the base of French dandiner to dandle, se dandiner to waddle, and related Romance words) + -le
Related forms
dandler, noun
undandled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dandle
Historical Examples
  • I have dandled your sons and daughters, Roberta, and may I live to dandle theirs!

    The Martian George Du Maurier
  • Before I die I'd love to dandle a child of yours upon my knee.

    The Cuckoo Clock Mrs. Molesworth
  • “My turn to dandle,” he said, with a sly look at his aunt, and convulsed everyone.

  • And you'd love to have little grandsons to dandle on your knee.

  • I trust Mrs. Terry will get her business easily over, and that you will soon "dandle Dickie on your knee."

  • Strange that it should undertake to dandle such delicate children in its arm.

    Cape Cod Henry D. Thoreau
  • "We little know what's in the mind of the babies we dandle in our arms," and went feebly out.

    One of My Sons Anna Katharine Green
  • I used to dandle you when you were an infant—good gracious, what red hair you had, and—it hasn't changed, not at all!

    The Honorable Miss L. T. Meade
  • It makes me laugh a little inwardly to see how they dandle their poetical babies, but I don't let them know it.

    The Poet at the Breakfast Table Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • And if he had a little Harry dandle next Christmas, wouldn't he give him the first spoonful out of the marrow-bone!

    Gryll Grange Thomas Love Peacock
British Dictionary definitions for dandle


verb (transitive)
to move (a young child, etc) up and down (on the knee or in the arms)
to pet; fondle
Derived Forms
dandler, noun
Word Origin
C16: of uncertain origin
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 dandle

1520s, of unknown origin. Perhaps somehow felt to be imitative. Cf. Italian dondolare "to dandle, swing," and French dandiner, from Old French dandin "small bell," imitative of its sound. Related: Dandled; dandling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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