noun, often attributive
sad·​dle | \ˈsa-dᵊl \

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 , 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 \ 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

In her hand was the It bag of the season: Dior's saddle bag. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Blake Lively Wore a Dior Outfit to Shop at Dior in Paris, Naturally," 21 Sep. 2018 In her younger years, the Queen would ride side-saddle on horseback to greet the public. Laura Smith-spark, CNN, "Duke and Duchess of Sussex join Queen's birthday parade," 9 June 2018 Gronkowski the horse was calm while Gronkowski the human petted him on the side of his neck while two jockeys put his saddle on. Nora Princiotti,, "A tale of two Gronkowskis, and their day at the Belmont Stakes," 10 June 2018 At least, that’s the case that Rihanna has made in the past, with an instantly iconic photo of her riding a jet ski side-saddle, her facial expression non-plussed. Cady Lang, Time, "Jay Z on a Jet Ski Is the Meme We All Deserve This Summer," 9 July 2018 In this utility-crazy world, there are more ways to satisfy your desire for a vehicle with abundant cargo capacity and tall-in-the-saddle seating than ever before. Malcolm Gunn,, "2018 Lexus NX," 28 June 2018 But once a saver, always a saver: Sabastian's new goal is to buy a new saddle and provide health care for Tom. Sarah Schreiber, Good Housekeeping, "Little Boy Cries With Joy After Meeting the Pony He's Been Saving For," 18 Oct. 2016 In other words, the weight of a jockey plus the saddle weighs about as much as Gronk’s left side. Kalyn Kahler,, "The Odds Aren’t In His Favor, but Rob Gronkowski Is All in on Gronkowski the Horse," 5 June 2018 His armor, horse and saddle were slathered in thick monochromatic swathes of grey and red. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Restorationist Botches 16th-Century Spanish Statue of Saint," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

An inspection satellite can saddle up to a sick satellite and help engineers down on the ground figure out what’s going on. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Is Russia’s Mysterious New Satellite a Space Weapon?," 15 Aug. 2018 If courage, as John Wayne put it, is being scared to death but saddling up anyway, then the kid is definitely courageous. Mike Kerrigan, WSJ, "Bear With Me? Get It Away!," 26 July 2018 For those who accept that radioactive decay is not a point of contention, the question of whether to spend money on schools that teach ancient man could’ve saddled up a dinosaur seemed an obvious one. Dan Sweeney,, "Were dinosaurs and humans alive at the same time? (And is that debate a good use of your money?)," 5 June 2018 Magnum Moon is one of the four colts in this year's race trained by Todd Pletcher, who has saddled two Kentucky Derby winners, including Always Dreaming last year. Mark Inabinett,, "Justify made morning-line favorite for Kentucky Derby," 1 May 2018 The hedge fund nevertheless set unreasonable profit targets; when coupled with the debt that these papers have been saddled with, the result was criminal. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Finance Is Killing the News," 18 Apr. 2018 Pletcher has also saddled the winners of this year's Florida Derby, Holy Bull, Louisiana Derby, and Wood Memorial. kansascity, "Magnum Moon cruises to victory in the Arkansas Derby | The Kansas City Star," 14 Apr. 2018 Many end up through the immigration court system, which has been saddled by a massive backlog. Fox News, "National Guard will only play supporting role to agents at the border," 5 Apr. 2018 The bill’s supporters say these banks have been unfairly saddled with regulations originally intended for global behemoth banks such as JPMorgan Chase, not regional or midsized firms. Washington Post,, "Senate passes rollback of post-financial crisis banking rules," 15 Mar. 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

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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 \

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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Comments on saddle

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full of whispering sounds

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