cra·​dle | \ ˈkrā-dᵊl How to pronounce cradle (audio) \

Definition of cradle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a bed or cot for a baby usually on rockers or pivots
b : a framework or support suggestive of a baby's cradle: such as
(1) : a framework of bars and rods
(2) : the support for a telephone receiver or handset
(3) : a charging station for a device (such as a smartphone or tablet)
c : an implement with rods like fingers attached to a scythe and used formerly for harvesting grain
d : a frame to keep the bedclothes from contact with an injured part of the body
2a : the earliest period of life : infancy from the cradle to the grave
b : a place of origin the cradle of civilization
3 : a rocking device used in panning for gold


cradled; cradling\ ˈkrād-​liŋ How to pronounce cradle (audio) , ˈkrā-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of cradle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to place or keep in or as if in a cradle
b : shelter, rear
c : to support protectively or intimately cradling the injured man's head in her arms
2 : to cut (grain) with a cradle scythe
3 : to place, raise, support, or transport on a cradle

intransitive verb

obsolete : to rest in or as if in a cradle

Examples of cradle in a Sentence

Noun She placed the phone back on its cradle. A number of ships were resting in their cradles in the shipyard. Verb He cradled her face in his hands. She was cradling the injured man's head in her arms.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That hits closer to home for those who consider Boston to be the cradle of liberty. Ira Stoll, WSJ, 28 Apr. 2022 Kyiv is often described as the cradle of Slavic civilization. Megan Buskey, The Atlantic, 19 Mar. 2022 The county heavily favored Donald Trump, and is a cradle of the secessionist Jefferson State movement. Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times, 16 Mar. 2022 To my cradle Catholic ears, that sounds downright spiritual in its formulation. Nick Ripatrazone, The Week, 14 Mar. 2022 Skinner was able to get a backdoor opening, stood up, grabbed the leg and got Ellis on his back with a cradle from the top. cleveland, 13 Mar. 2022 Walsh, a sophomore, held off a late cradle from Poway freshman Ben Bomberger for the 8-7 win in the final, improving to 28-2. Kevin J. Farmer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Feb. 2022 The clip design is smart, with two adjustable joints and a cradle that expands to accommodate most phones. Louryn Strampe, Wired, 12 Dec. 2021 That's because the mother of two was found as an infant in a cradle on the steps of an Indian orphanage started by Mother Teresa. Michelle Boudin,, 18 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the harshest days, God is your Savior, and will cradle your pain away with His love. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 2 May 2022 The amount of weight on the bed determines how much the mattress will compress and cradle your body. Jamie Kim, Good Housekeeping, 28 Apr. 2022 These elevated body pillows are designed to gently cradle your bump; some are similar to an air mattress, while others are denser and made from memory foam to conform to your belly. Laura Lajiness Kaupke, Glamour, 30 Mar. 2022 Chicago’s best hot dogs come on soft, steamed buns, which cradle the hot dog without getting in the way. Nick Kindelsperger,, 21 Mar. 2022 Allen was able to get a shot in on Carman in the OT and flip around his hips to cradle him into a takedown, giving him a 3-1 sudden victory. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 13 Mar. 2022 Bath pillows come in all shapes in sizes, but their purpose remains the same: to cradle your head, neck, and back against your bathtub's uncomfortable ledge. ELLE, 24 Jan. 2022 And finally, once your snow day fun is done, slip into the coziest pair of supportive recovery shoes that cradle your arches and absorb shock, so your body doesn't have to. Jennifer Chan, Travel + Leisure, 12 Jan. 2022 When playing this way, the d-pad and action buttons fall neatly into place under my thumbs, while the rest of my fingers have ample room to cradle the system comfortably. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 13 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cradle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of cradle


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for cradle


Middle English cradel, from Old English cradol; perhaps akin to Old High German kratto basket, Sanskrit grantha knot

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Time Traveler for cradle

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The first known use of cradle was before the 12th century

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Statistics for cradle

Last Updated

3 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cradle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cradle


cra·​dle | \ ˈkrā-dᵊl How to pronounce cradle (audio) \

Kids Definition of cradle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a baby's bed usually on rockers
2 : place of beginning the cradle of civilization
3 : the earliest period of life I was pampered from the cradle.
4 : a framework or support resembling a baby's bed in appearance or use a phone's cradle


cradled; cradling

Kids Definition of cradle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to hold or support in or as if in a cradle She cradled my head in her arms.


cra·​dle | \ ˈkrād-ᵊl How to pronounce cradle (audio) \

Medical Definition of cradle

1 : a bed or cot for a baby usually on rockers or pivots
2a : a frame to keep the bedclothes from contact with an injured part of the body
b : a frame placed on the neck of an animal to keep it from biting an injury or sore

More from Merriam-Webster on cradle

Nglish: Translation of cradle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cradle for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cradle


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