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swaddling clothes

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plural noun
  1. clothes consisting of long, narrow strips of cloth for swaddling an infant.
  2. long garments for an infant.
  3. the period of infancy or immaturity, as of a person, or incipience, as of a thing: Nuclear energy is still in its swaddling clothes.
  4. rigid supervision or restriction of actions or movements, as of the immature: new nations that are freeing themselves of their swaddling clothes.

Origin of swaddling clothes

First recorded in 1525–35
Also called swaddling bands (for defs 1, 2).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for swaddling clothes

Historical Examples

  • They are bound very closely in what are called "swaddling-clothes."

    The Nursery, May 1877, Vol. XXI. No. 5

    Various

  • Because they are not bound in the swaddling-clothes of a narrow civilization.

  • The babe is seen wrapped in swaddling-clothes and lying in a manger.

    The Catacombs of Rome

    William Henry Withrow

  • I took him in my arms, stiff and long in his swaddling-clothes.

    Woman

    Magdeleine Marx

  • I would rather be able to say I knew it in its swaddling-clothes, than in maturer age.


British Dictionary definitions for swaddling clothes

swaddling clothes

pl n
  1. long strips of linen or other cloth formerly wrapped round a newly born baby
  2. restrictions or supervision imposed on the immature
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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