• synonyms

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.
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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

Related Words


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


  • 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.


    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
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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