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

Son of Union Rags has plenty of tactical speed and might even go for the lead with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle., "Clancy’s Call: Saratoga," 26 July 2019 Despite years of experience in the saddle, the mammoth nature and unpredictability of the task forced Long to dig deep and rely solely on his own volition. Ben Church, CNN, "Meet the oldest winner of the world's longest horse race," 30 Aug. 2019 In the saddle As has already been mentioned, Espinoza led all jockeys last week with six wins. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: At Del Mar, Victor Espinoza is back in a big way," 20 Aug. 2019 There will be considerable preparation and maneuvering, Roman and Kendall back in the saddle as co-COOs, Gerri falsely positioned as the next CEO to investors, and so on. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who Won the Succession Game of Thrones This Week?," 12 Aug. 2019 There were the tiny (OK, large) caveats that attendees should train for three months prior to the week-long, 239-plus-mile guided cycling trip and also feel comfortable spending a full day in the saddle. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "I Didn't Think I Liked Cycling—Until I Went on an Epic 239-Mile Trip," 11 July 2019 Jumping out of the saddle to hammer on his pedals up the final part of the 12 percent incline, Alaphilippe caught other riders cold. John Leicester,, "Tour de France: Alaphilippe’s surprise attack earns yellow jersey," 8 July 2019 The Canyon Vista mule ride lasts three hours (two in the saddle) and stays atop the rim following a gentle path through pine forests with plenty of great views. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "Kid-friendly Grand Canyon: Here are the 6 best activities for families at the South Rim," 26 June 2019 Oregon and Oregon State have new coaches, and Mitch Canham and Mark Wasikowski are in the saddle., "Adley Rutschman hits the mother lode, and we say goodbye (at least for now): Diamonds & Dust," 25 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

They will often be saddled with strollers and lots of tired children. Richard Tribou,, "Florida mom goes to Disney without kids to celebrate first day of school," 13 Aug. 2019 On top of its crew shortage, it was saddled with a pressing deadline to equip all its locomotives with the technology for an automatic braking system known as Positive Train Control. Patrick Mcgeehan, New York Times, "N.J. Transit Canceled More Than 60 Trains (and That Was Just in the Last Week)," 8 July 2019 In the late 1970s and into the early ’80s, the league didn’t have much of a national audience, in large part because it was saddled with a lackluster TV deal and an image problem stemming from substance abuse by some players. Lz Granderson,, "The NBA’s transition from marketing superstars to super teams," 6 July 2019 Because someone admires your abilities, you may be saddled with extra responsibilities in late August or early September. Tribune Content Agency,, "Horoscope for July 6, 2019: Happy birthday Eva Green; Virgo, focus on home improvement," 6 July 2019 They would be saddled with debt and have barely enough output to pay for it. Karl W. Smith, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Not all budget deficits are created equal," 17 June 2019 Nearly all the theories, abstractions, hierarchies, and isms of contemporary culture tend toward the same end: to saddle people, in all their glorious and individual messiness, with simple, easy-to-read labels. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "What the ‘Resistance Library’ shows us about America’s struggles today," 28 Aug. 2019 On Saturday, both Bay Area conditioners saddled the exacta in two races. Los Angeles Times, "Racing! Remembering Arrogate’s stellar Travers," 22 Aug. 2019 With far fewer prospects in his barn than usual, Hollendorfer saddled only six horses in the meet going into Sunday, with only a pair of third-place finishes to show for it. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hollendorfer notches first stakes win at Del Mar after ban was struck down," 11 Aug. 2019

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

17 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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