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


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verb (1)

raddled; raddling ˈrad-liŋ How to pronounce raddle (audio)

transitive verb

: to mark or paint with raddle


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verb (2)

raddled; raddling

transitive verb

: to twist together : interweave

Word History



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).

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (1)

1631, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1671, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near raddle

Cite this Entry

“Raddle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raddle. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

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