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verb (used with object), swad·dled, swad·dling.
  1. to bind (an infant, especially a newborn infant) with long, narrow strips of cloth to prevent free movement; wrap tightly with clothes.
  2. to wrap (anything) round with bandages.
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  1. a long, narrow strip of cloth used for swaddling or bandaging.
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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. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for swaddle


verb (tr)
  1. to wind a bandage round
  2. to wrap (a baby) in swaddling clothes
  3. to restrain as if by wrapping with bandages; smother
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  1. mainly US swaddling clothes
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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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper