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See more synonyms for dandle on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), dan·dled, dan·dling.
  1. to move (a baby, child, etc.) lightly up and down, as on one's knee or in one's arms.
  2. to pet; pamper.
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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 formsdan·dler, nounun·dan·dled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

fondle, nuzzle, play, toy, love, dance, toss, amuse, cosset, pet, cradle, rock, sport

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."

British Dictionary definitions for dandle


verb (tr)
  1. to move (a young child, etc) up and down (on the knee or in the arms)
  2. to pet; fondle
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Derived Formsdandler, 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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper