- a small bed for an infant, usually on rockers.
- any of various supports for objects set horizontally, as the support for the handset of a telephone.
- the place where anything is nurtured during its early existence: Boston was the cradle of the American Revolution.
- 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.
- a scythe together with the cradle in which it is set.
- a wire or wicker basket used to hold a wine bottle in a more or less horizontal position while the wine is being served.
- Artillery. the part of a gun carriage on which a recoiling gun slides.
- a landing platform for ferryboats, rolling on inclined tracks to facilitate loading and unloading at different water levels.
- Aeronautics. a docklike structure in which a rigid or semirigid airship is built or is supported during inflation.
- Automotive. creeper(def 6).
- a shaped support for a boat, cast, etc.; chock.
- truss(def 9).
- a moving framework on which a hull slides down the ways when launched.
- a built-up form on which plates of irregular form are shaped.
- Medicine/Medical. a frame that prevents the bedclothes from touching an injured part of a bedridden patient.
- Mining. a box on rockers for washing sand or gravel to separate gold or other heavy metal.
- an engraver’s tool for laying mezzotint grounds.
- 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.
- to hold gently or protectively.
- to place or rock in or as in an infant’s cradle.
- to nurture during infancy.
- to receive or hold as a cradle.
- to cut (grain) with a cradle.
- to place (a vessel) on a cradle.
- Mining. to wash (sand or gravel) in a cradle; rock.
- Painting. to support (a panel) with a cradle.
verb (used without object), cra·dled, cra·dling.
- to lie in or as if in a cradle.
- to cut grain with a cradle scythe.
- rob the cradle, Informal. to marry, court, or date a person much younger than oneself.
- a baby’s bed with enclosed sides, often with a hood and rockers
- a place where something originates or is nurtured during its early lifethe cradle of civilization
- the earliest period of lifethey knew each other from the cradle
- a frame, rest, or trolley made to support or transport a piece of equipment, aircraft, ship, etc
- a platform, cage, or trolley, in which workmen are suspended on the side of a building or ship
- the part of a telephone on which the handset rests when not in use
- a holder connected to a computer allowing data to be transferred from a PDA, digital camera, etc
- another name for creeper (def. 5)
- a framework of several wooden fingers attached to a scythe to gather the grain into bunches as it is cut
- a scythe equipped with such a cradle; cradle scythe
- a collar of wooden fingers that prevents a horse or cow from turning its head and biting itself
- Also called: rocker a boxlike apparatus for washing rocks, sand, etc, containing gold or gem stones
- engraving a tool that produces the pitted surface of a copper mezzotint plate before the design is engraved upon it
- a framework used to prevent the bedclothes from touching a sensitive part of an injured person
- from the cradle to the grave throughout life
- (tr) to rock or place in or as if in a cradle; hold tenderly
- (tr) to nurture in or bring up from infancy
- (tr) to replace (the handset of a telephone) on the cradle
- to reap (grain) with a cradle scythe
- (tr) to wash (soil bearing gold, etc) in a cradle
- 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.
- A small low bed for an infant, often furnished with rockers.
- 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.