rad·​dle | \ ˈra-dᵊl How to pronounce raddle (audio) \

Definition of raddle

 (Entry 1 of 3)


verb (1)
raddled; raddling\ ˈrad-​liŋ How to pronounce raddle (audio) , ˈra-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of raddle (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to mark or paint with raddle


verb (2)
raddled; raddling

Definition of raddle (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to twist together : interweave

First Known Use of raddle


14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (1)

1631, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1671, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for raddle


Middle English radel, probably variant of rodel ruddle entry 1

Note: The Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, treats raddle as "apparently a variant of ruddle,", with the difference in vowel lacking explanation. The Middle English Dictionary regards radel as a derivative of rad, taken as a variant of red, rede red entry 1. There is also a variant reddle, presumably regional in Britain; note reddleman "peddler or merchant who sells red ocher for marking sheep," the profession of Diggory Venn, a character in Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native.

Verb (1)

derivative of raddle entry 1

Verb (2)

probably derivative of regional raddle "supple stick interwoven with others as in making a fence," of uncertain origin

Note: The noun is apparently not attested before 1577 and is thus later than the verb, used as a gerund radelyng in 1470. The Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, suggests that the noun might be the same as the very marginally attested word radyll "side rail of a cart" (presumably borrowed from Anglo-French ridele, redele, with unexplained vowel change).

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The first known use of raddle was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Raddle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raddle. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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