[ swod-l ]
/ ˈswɒd l /

verb (used with object), swad·dled, swad·dling.

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.

Nearby words

  1. swabber,
  2. swabby,
  3. swabia,
  4. swabian,
  5. swacked,
  6. swaddling clothes,
  7. swaddy,
  8. swadeshi,
  9. swados,
  10. swag

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 formsun·swad·dled, adjectiveun·swad·dling, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for swaddle

British Dictionary definitions for swaddle


/ (ˈswɒdəl) /

verb (tr)

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 for swaddle

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

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