rob the cradle

rob the cradle


  1. a small bed for an infant, usually on rockers.
  2. any of various supports for objects set horizontally, as the support for the handset of a telephone.
  3. the place where anything is nurtured during its early existence: Boston was the cradle of the American Revolution.
  4. Agriculture.
    1. a frame of wood with a row of long curved teeth projecting above and parallel to a scythe, for laying grain in bunches as it is cut.
    2. a scythe together with the cradle in which it is set.
  5. a wire or wicker basket used to hold a wine bottle in a more or less horizontal position while the wine is being served.
  6. Artillery. the part of a gun carriage on which a recoiling gun slides.
  7. a landing platform for ferryboats, rolling on inclined tracks to facilitate loading and unloading at different water levels.
  8. Aeronautics. a docklike structure in which a rigid or semirigid airship is built or is supported during inflation.
  9. Automotive. creeper(def 6).
  10. Nautical.
    1. a shaped support for a boat, cast, etc.; chock.
    2. truss(def 9).
  11. Shipbuilding.
    1. a moving framework on which a hull slides down the ways when launched.
    2. a built-up form on which plates of irregular form are shaped.
  12. Medicine/Medical. a frame that prevents the bedclothes from touching an injured part of a bedridden patient.
  13. Mining. a box on rockers for washing sand or gravel to separate gold or other heavy metal.
  14. an engraver’s tool for laying mezzotint grounds.
  15. Painting. a structure of wooden strips attached to the back of a panel, used as a support and to prevent warping.

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

  1. to hold gently or protectively.
  2. to place or rock in or as in an infant’s cradle.
  3. to nurture during infancy.
  4. to receive or hold as a cradle.
  5. to cut (grain) with a cradle.
  6. to place (a vessel) on a cradle.
  7. Mining. to wash (sand or gravel) in a cradle; rock.
  8. Painting. to support (a panel) with a cradle.

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

  1. to lie in or as if in a cradle.
  2. to cut grain with a cradle scythe.
  1. rob the cradle, Informal. to marry, court, or date a person much younger than oneself.


  1. a baby’s bed with enclosed sides, often with a hood and rockers
  2. a place where something originates or is nurtured during its early lifethe cradle of civilization
  3. the earliest period of lifethey knew each other from the cradle
  4. a frame, rest, or trolley made to support or transport a piece of equipment, aircraft, ship, etc
  5. a platform, cage, or trolley, in which workmen are suspended on the side of a building or ship
  6. the part of a telephone on which the handset rests when not in use
  7. a holder connected to a computer allowing data to be transferred from a PDA, digital camera, etc
  8. another name for creeper (def. 5)
  9. agriculture
    1. a framework of several wooden fingers attached to a scythe to gather the grain into bunches as it is cut
    2. a scythe equipped with such a cradle; cradle scythe
    3. a collar of wooden fingers that prevents a horse or cow from turning its head and biting itself
  10. Also called: rocker a boxlike apparatus for washing rocks, sand, etc, containing gold or gem stones
  11. engraving a tool that produces the pitted surface of a copper mezzotint plate before the design is engraved upon it
  12. a framework used to prevent the bedclothes from touching a sensitive part of an injured person
  13. from the cradle to the grave throughout life


  1. (tr) to rock or place in or as if in a cradle; hold tenderly
  2. (tr) to nurture in or bring up from infancy
  3. (tr) to replace (the handset of a telephone) on the cradle
  4. to reap (grain) with a cradle scythe
  5. (tr) to wash (soil bearing gold, etc) in a cradle
  6. lacrosse to keep (the ball) in the net of the stick, esp while running with it

c.1200, cradel, from Old English cradol “little bed, cot,” from Proto-Germanic *kradulas “basket” (cf. Old High German kratto, krezzo “basket,” German Krätze “basket carried on the back”). Cat’s cradle is from 1768. Cradle-snatching “amorous pursuit of younger person” is 1925, U.S. slang.


c.1500, from cradle (n.). Related: Cradled; cradling.


  1. A small low bed for an infant, often furnished with rockers.
  2. A frame used to keep the bedclothes from pressing on an injured part.

Have a romantic or sexual relationship with someone much younger than oneself, as in The old editor was notorious for robbing the cradle, always trying to date some young reporter. [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]

see from the cradle to the grave; rob the cradle.

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