suck·​le | \ ˈsə-kəl How to pronounce suckle (audio) \
suckled; suckling\ ˈsə-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce suckle (audio) \

Definition of suckle

transitive verb

1a : to give milk to from the breast or udder a mother suckling her child
b : to nurture as if by giving milk from the breast was suckled on pulp magazines
2 : to draw milk from the breast or udder of lambs suckling the ewes

intransitive verb

: to draw milk from the breast or udder

Examples of suckle in a Sentence

a cat suckling her kittens the image of a mother suckling her babe is a standard artistic symbol of maternal love and nurturing
Recent Examples on the Web Despite what may be an initial reluctance to suckle their babies with milk made in a test tube, Stefani Bardin, who teaches food technology and design at New York University and Parsons School of Design, says there will be takers. Alexandra Sternlicht, Forbes, 22 May 2022 The adult sits down on the brownish sand, immediately sullying her pristine white coat, then, in a moment of uncanny tenderness, lets the youngsters in to suckle. Travel, 29 Dec. 2021 What’s also not visible in this photograph is that only one gorilla survives the massacre, a baby found next to her slain mother, one of Senkwekwe’s mates, trying to suckle her breast. Jamie Lauren Keiles Ismail Muhammad Kim Tingley Benoit Denizet-lewis Sam Anderson Jazmine Hughes Irina Aleksander Sasha Weiss Rowan Ricardo Phillips Stella Bugbee Michael Paterniti Maggie Jones Robert Draper Rob Hoerburger Jason Zengerle Reginald Dwayne Betts Jane Hu David Marchese Hanif Abdurraqib Jenna Wortham Anthony Giardina Niela Orr Amy X. Wang, New York Times, 25 Dec. 2021 The researchers said that the mongoose moms suckle all the pups in their underground dens for a month, without any discrimination, and pups feed from many different moms. Katie Hunt, CNN, 23 June 2021 And Elephant Aware, a nonprofit conservation group, sent in a similarly uncommon video of a calf trying to suckle from her dead mother. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, 9 June 2021 Suction feeding is also a staple among certain marine mammals, such as whales and and seals, and, arguably, all animals that suckle from their mother after birth. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 1 June 2021 Observed off the coast of a Russian island, walrus moms tend to keep their babies on the left while bobbing along the waves, and their calves swam over to their mother’s left side before diving to suckle. Abigail Tucker, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 May 2021 The last straw happened when Hera agreed to suckle the baby Heracles, a nice, forgiving gesture. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 30 Oct. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of suckle

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for suckle

Middle English suklen, probably back-formation from suklyng

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Time Traveler for suckle

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The first known use of suckle was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near suckle

suck it and see



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Cite this Entry

“Suckle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for suckle


suck·​le | \ ˈsə-kəl How to pronounce suckle (audio) \
suckled; suckling

Kids Definition of suckle

: to feed from the breast or udder


transitive verb
suck·​le | \ ˈsək-əl How to pronounce suckle (audio) \
suckled; suckling\ -​(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce suckle (audio) \

Medical Definition of suckle

1 : to give milk to from the breast or udder a mother suckling her child
2 : to draw milk from the breast or udder of

More from Merriam-Webster on suckle

Nglish: Translation of suckle for Spanish Speakers


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