verb (used without object), wad·dled, wad·dling.

to walk with short steps, swaying or rocking from side to side, as a duck.
to move in any similar, slow, rocking manner; wobble: The ship waddled into port.


an act or instance of waddling, especially a waddling gait.

Origin of waddle

1350–1400; Middle English; see wade, -le; compare German watteln
Related formswad·dler, nounwad·dling·ly, adverbwad·dly, adjectiveun·wad·dling, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for waddle

totter, wobble, toddle, wiggle, sway, shuffle, rock

Examples from the Web for waddle

Contemporary Examples of waddle

  • That fact can be confirmed by standing on any street corner in any city of the country and watching Americans waddle by.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Free to Be Fat

    Richard B. McKenzie

    November 23, 2011

Historical Examples of waddle

  • Their walk is a waddle, and they bulge with seaming corpulency.

  • The march of the centuries may be majestic, but the waddle of this little ant of a man is not.

    Jewel Weed

    Alice Ames Winter

  • Her walk was degenerating into a waddle; stairs caused her to grunt.

    Tommy and Co.

    Jerome K. Jerome

  • At the time, baby was quite able to walk—at least to waddle or toddle.

    The Buffalo Runners

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • As the morning drew on, they began to waddle away towards the river.

British Dictionary definitions for waddle


verb (intr)

to walk with short steps, rocking slightly from side to side


a swaying gait or motion
Derived Formswaddler, nounwaddling, adjectivewaddly, adjective

Word Origin for waddle

C16: probably frequentative of wade
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 waddle

"to walk with short steps," 1590s, frequentative of wade. Related: Waddled; waddling. The noun is recorded from 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper