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

canyon (also cañon), col, couloir, defile, flume, gap, gill [British], gorge, gulch, gulf, kloof [South African], linn [chiefly Scottish], notch, pass, ravine

Synonyms: Verb

burden, encumber, freight, lade, laden, load, lumber, weight

Antonyms: Verb

disburden, discharge, disencumber, unburden, unlade, unload

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Examples of saddle in a Sentence


the next day's hike was a stiff climb out of the saddle where they had camped for the night


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

Hung over the rear prop shaft like a pair of saddle bags is a lithium battery pack with an effective capacity of 6.5 kWh (nominal 9.2 kWh) providing an official 13 miles of EV range; in our household’s daily driving that number seemed closer to 9. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Why the U.S. Needs to Up Its Standards for Hybrid Electric Vehicles," 20 Apr. 2018 Saint Laurent Jodphur Boots These boots are a saddle-leather tan and liven up any outfit. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "The Case for Buying Less Clothing," 4 Jan. 2019 To lower the action, simply turn each saddle screw clockwise with an Allen wrench. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "How to Set Up a Guitar And Make It Your Own," 7 Dec. 2018 Cyclists will argue for six hours about the proper height of a saddle. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Floyd Landis Comes Back to Cycling—as the Boss," 4 Oct. 2018 Smooth, full-grain leather, a flexible Ariaprene collar, a cushiony Vibram SPE midsole and a grippy outsole create a trendy yet timeless choice for everyday wear, in fall-friendly colors like saddle tan and olive. Bree Coven Foster, The Seattle Times, "5 fall boots for rain and shine," 8 Oct. 2018 Cyclists Pretty much every part of a bicycle, from saddles and spokes to tubes and frames, features on this latest tariffs list, even after the industry went into overdrive to get relief. Daniela Wei, The Seattle Times, "Winners and losers from Trump’s tariffs," 18 Sep. 2018 The scenic hike treks up Peralta Canyon and leads to Fremont saddle, giving postcard views of Weavers Needle. Sonja Haller, azcentral, "Ultimate Arizona bucket list: 14 things to do in Pinal County," 18 Feb. 2015 Walk the ridge to Mount Gordon Lyon, head down the saddle and up to Rendezvous Peak, then finish by making your way back to the parking lot. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "12 Anchorage-area hikes you can do in about 5 hours or less," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

After all, when class president Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is saddled with the task of helping morph art student Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook) into prom queen as part of a...wait for it... Anne T. Donahue, Marie Claire, "Is All Rom-Com Love Based on a Lie?," 12 Feb. 2019 No fielder got close enough to the ball to be tagged with an error, so the pitcher, who did his job and got a pop-up, gets saddled with a hit. Lee Judge, kansascity, "Big-league scorekeeping: Does baseball need team errors? | The Kansas City Star," 10 May 2018 Both 3s were assisted by Hoggard House led all scorers with 20 points, all of which came in the second half after he was saddled with foul trouble in the first half. Aaron Carter,, "Luke House, AJ Hoggard lead Carroll against Wissahickon," 9 Mar. 2018 Although the idea of massive machines extracting pollution and pumping life-saving mixtures sounds great, that vision comes saddled with a lot of caveats. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "The Future Machines of the Year 2100," 16 Feb. 2018 Johnson had the party’s support but faced a constant ad barrage from Pawlenty and also was saddled with his loss to Dayton just four years earlier. Kyle Potter, The Seattle Times, "3 Democrats seek Minnesota governor post Pawlenty wants back," 13 Aug. 2018 Covey was saddled with the third error, in the third inning, when his pickoff throw to first bounced by Jose Abreu. Colleen Kane,, "White Sox, Dylan Covey trail Indians 6-0," 18 June 2018 Today: businessman and civic activist Edgar Stern Jr. The icon: Edgar Stern Jr. The legacy: He was blessed with family wealth, but Edgar Stern Jr. was also saddled with a family name that seemed impossible to live up to. Mike Scott,, "Meet the man who brought New Orleans into the TV age," 12 May 2018 More on the Pacers and Cavs: The Pacers, who won 4 of 5 regular-season meetings, still were caught off-guard while Victor Oladipo (22 points, six assists) was saddled with foul trouble in the first half. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "LeBron James' opening onslaught too much to overcome for Pacers in Game 2," 18 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for saddle

Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for saddle

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

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More Definitions for saddle



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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More from Merriam-Webster on saddle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with saddle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for saddle

Spanish Central: Translation of saddle

Nglish: Translation of saddle for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on saddle

What made you want to look up saddle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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