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 saddle (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 saddle (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 The story of this race was a tough horse with an all-time great trainer and an all-time great tactician in the saddle, but no one, Baffert included, thinks Medina Spirit is the next Justify or American Pharoah. Childs Walker,, "Three takeaways from Medina Spirit’s victory in the Kentucky Derby," 1 May 2021 The next day found us back in the saddle, this time aboard mules for a two-hour view ride along the rim near Yaki Point. Washington Post, "Four national parks in four seasons," 30 Apr. 2021 An evil regime, too long in the saddle — like a lot of other regimes, blighting the globe. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "The second Castro goes, &c.," 30 Apr. 2021 This structured, minimalist saddle bag has an adjustable crossbody strap so that it can also be worn as a stylish shoulder bag. Nicola Fumo, Forbes, "7 Stylish Crossbody Bags For Work, Travel & Everyday," 16 Apr. 2021 The Birkin—a simple, structured rectangular leather carryall with a flap closure and saddle stitching—has become a part of the culture. Leah Chernikoff, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Cultural Endurance of the Mighty, Mighty Birkin," 22 Mar. 2021 This will be my last try, here in my garden with Moana, Lucky, Abigail and Boomerang, each naked except for Boomerang, who is cinched into a blue plastic saddle. Seija Rankin,, "First look: Literary star Claire Vaye Watkins' next novel will tackle all the taboo topics," 8 Apr. 2021 The rodeo includes 2½ hours of bull riding, bare-back riding, barrel racing, cowgirl breakaway roping, calf roping, steer wrestling, team roping and saddle bronc riding each night. Nancy Clanton, ajc, "5 fun ways to spend a day in Cumming," 5 Apr. 2021 Hygiene and comfort are critical, and saddle sores are no joke — and can end an otherwise enjoyable ride. Washington Post, "How to take an overnight trip with your two-wheeled vehicle," 26 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Should Hidden Stash make it to the starting gate on race day, Oliver would become the 18th female trainer to saddle a horse for the event billed as the World Series of horse racing. Jonathan Saxon, The Courier-Journal, "This female trainer could make history if horse Hidden Stash wins the Kentucky Derby," 26 Apr. 2021 Your frontiersman now has the ability to saddle up on the back of a tamed beast, considerably reducing the downtime between fights. Luke Winkie, Vulture, "The Best Video Games of 2021 (So Far)," 9 Apr. 2021 Similarly, measures passed this way can’t saddle future budgets — usually 10 years away — with red ink, which is why the Bush tax cuts were designed to expire in 2010. Philip Elliott, Time, "Why the Democrats' Infrastructure Bill Hinges on One Ruling," 5 Apr. 2021 This plan would also saddle hardworking middle-class Americans with tax increases while forcing radical social justice policies on the American people. Mike Cason |, al, "Alabama’s GOP Congressmen oppose Biden’s $2 trillion ‘American Jobs’ plan," 1 Apr. 2021 Bob Baffert, who trains Authentic, will also saddle Maximum Security (7-2), who has crossed the wire first in 11 of his 13 career starts including the 2019 Derby when he was disqualified. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Breeders' Cup 2020: Everything you need to know about the biggest day in horse racing," 5 July 2020 The cynical perspective is that the whole purpose of a tax treaty is to saddle source countries with the PE doctrine and flaky transfer pricing rules, while denying them the ability to obtain fair outcomes via withholding. Robert Goulder, Forbes, "The BEPS Gambit: Is Corporate Tax Harmonization Doomed?," 3 Mar. 2021 At Freeport Marina, saddle up at the circular open-air bar for a local pint and a basket of fried shrimp or soft shell crabs before enjoying the scenic ferry ride back to the mainland. Stratton Lawrence, Travel + Leisure, "This Tiny U.S. Island Is Full of Quiet Beaches, Art, Rum, History — and Some Say Voodoo," 26 Feb. 2021 Trading Wentz will free about $800,000 in cap space for the Eagles, but will saddle them with $33 million in dead cap money. Globe Staff,, "Several NFL franchise quarterbacks want trades after Tom Brady showed them the way," 13 Feb. 2021

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

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Saddle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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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