noun, often attributive
sad·​dle | \ ˈsa-dᵊl How to pronounce saddle (audio) \

Definition of saddle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a girthed usually padded and leather-covered seat for the rider of an animal (such as a horse)
(2) : a part of a driving harness comparable to a saddle that is used to keep the breeching in place
b : a seat to be straddled by the rider of a vehicle (such as a bicycle)
2 : a device mounted as a support and often shaped to fit the object held
3a : a ridge connecting two higher elevations
b : a pass in a mountain range
4a : both sides of the unsplit back of a carcass including both loins
b : a colored marking on the back of an animal
c : the rear part of a male fowl's back extending to the tail — see duck illustration
5 : the central part of the spine of the binding of a book
6 : a piece of leather across the instep of a shoe
in the saddle
: in control


saddled; saddling\ ˈsad-​liŋ How to pronounce saddling (audio) , ˈsa-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of saddle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to put a saddle on
2a : to place under a burden or encumbrance
b : to place (an onerous responsibility) on a person or group

intransitive verb

: to mount a saddled horse

Illustration of saddle

Illustration of saddle


saddle 1a(1): 1 western, 2 English

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from saddle


saddleless \ ˈsa-​dᵊl-​(l)əs How to pronounce saddleless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for saddle

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of saddle in a Sentence

Noun the next day's hike was a stiff climb out of the saddle where they had camped for the night Verb He saddled his horse and mounted it. to the social worker it seemed as though her supervisor had once again saddled her with a truly hopeless case
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Baffert said his assistant, Jim Barnes, broke his arm trying to get the saddle on the unruly colt. Beth Harris,, "Authentic upsets favorite Tiz the Law to win the Kentucky Derby and give trainer Bob Baffert his record-tying 6th win," 6 Sep. 2020 With Manny Franco in the saddle, Tiz the Law squared his shoulders and turned for home but came up a length and quarter short of Authentic, who basically led every step of the way. Joe Drape, New York Times, "Authentic Wins the Kentucky Derby, Run Without Fans," 5 Sep. 2020 Perhaps the saddle will provide Franco some extra mojo. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "'Magic saddle' has been on 3 Kentucky Derby winners. Can Tiz the Law make it No. 4?," 3 Sep. 2020 Then — after more than five hours in the saddle — Ewan darted to the left to overcome Sam Bennett and claim his fourth career stage win in the Tour by more than a wheel., "Caleb Ewan slaloms to sprint win; Julian Alaphilippe leads Tour de France," 31 Aug. 2020 But for those who want their Bronco with a more comfortable saddle, Bronco Sport may be the sleeper pick. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "In the saddle of the bucking Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport," 29 Aug. 2020 The ride-on toy features a steering wheel that looks plucked directly from the Tesla assembly line, an ergonomic saddle, and a working horn, but it isn't electrically powered. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, "Tesla Model Y Now Comes in a Toddler Size from Radio Flyer," 18 Aug. 2020 With traditional stationary bikes, a standard measure is to match the distance between the saddle and handlebars to the length of your forearm. Dana Santas, CNN, "Biking your way to better health: How to reboot your workout routine," 17 Aug. 2020 Flat foot placement at stops is easy, despite the 33-inch saddle height, because of the tapered design at the nose. Joe Michaud, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ready for an adventure?," 16 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Protesters have already faced short-term repercussions — there is no need to saddle them with more hardship. Nila Bala, Star Tribune, "Protesters shouldn't be saddled with criminal records," 27 Aug. 2020 Catching gold fever is far more likely to saddle you with a big loss. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "What’s driving the new gold rush?," 15 Aug. 2020 With his two most qualified colts out with injuries, Bob Baffert is weighing whether to saddle his star filly for the Kentucky Derby. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Boys, beware! Bob Baffert's filly with 'insane' ability a Kentucky Derby possibility," 1 July 2020 But that risk is magnified by the financial engineering used to fund leveraged buyouts, or LBOs, which saddle companies brought private with dangerous amounts of leverage and hefty interest expenses. Matt Egan, CNN, "Risky deals boomed during the bull market. Now some are blowing up," 29 June 2020 The Federal Reserve on Thursday said that the largest U.S. banks are likely strong enough to survive the coronavirus crisis but warned a prolonged economic downturn could saddle them with hundreds of billions of dollars in losses on soured loans. Ben Eisen And Andrew Ackerman, WSJ, "Fed Stress Test Finds U.S. Banks Healthy Enough to Withstand the Coronavirus Crisis," 25 June 2020 Since state and local governments lack the ability to deficit spend, revenues have to come from somewhere—why not saddle the people who created environmental problems with the cost of remedying them? Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Defunding the Police Is Good Climate Policy," 4 June 2020 Times are even harder for Air Zimbabwe, the one-plane national carrier of the southern African nation, saddled with debt of more than $300 million even before the pandemic. Rodney Muhumuza, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus pandemic has been 'very devastating' for many African airlines," 4 June 2020 Venezuela, a fractured South American country of nearly 30 million people, saddled with deepening poverty, shortages of goods, blackouts and runaway crime, is also the object of a seemingly unending tug of war for power. Anchorage Daily News, "How an ex-Green Beret and a defecting general planned to capture Venezuela’s president," 11 May 2020

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

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First Known Use of saddle


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


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

History and Etymology for saddle


Middle English sadel, from Old English sadol; akin to Old High German satul saddle

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Time Traveler for saddle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for saddle

Last Updated

14 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Saddle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for saddle


How to pronounce saddle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of saddle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a leather-covered seat that is put on the back of a horse
: a seat on a bicycle or motorcycle



English Language Learners Definition of saddle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put a saddle on (a horse)


sad·​dle | \ ˈsa-dᵊl How to pronounce saddle (audio) \

Kids Definition of saddle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a padded and leather-covered seat for a rider on horseback
2 : something like a saddle in shape, position, or use


saddled; saddling

Kids Definition of saddle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put a saddle on I saddled my horse.
2 : to put a load on : burden She saddled him with the hardest job.


sad·​dle | \ ˈsad-ᵊl How to pronounce saddle (audio) \

Medical Definition of saddle

: the part of a partial denture that carries an artificial tooth and has connectors for adjacent teeth attached to its ends

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