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

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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

Nipples provide no benefit to males, yet mammals have maintained them since the origin of suckling around 200 million years ago. Richard Wrangham, WSJ, "Humans: The Domesticated Primates," 10 Jan. 2019 Inside, pregnant women and new moms relaxed into pastel poufs; three-week-old babies suckled not far from a two-year-old; a lactation coach suggested alternate positions for a better latch. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "The Breastfeeding Movement Is Experiencing a Tech Revolution—Here's How It's Helping New Moms," 11 Sep. 2018 Studies show that in addition to helping babies sleep, lullabies can slow their heart rates, reduce stress, increase their ability to suckle effectively and decrease colic and crying. Malia Wollan, New York Times, "How to Sing a Lullaby," 2 May 2018 The trenches resembled a litter of suckling piglets, and thus a nickname was born: pig iron. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 But when a baby suckles a mom’s breasts, the mother’s brain’s posterior lobe secretes oxytocin, and some of that pain is relieved with the release of milk. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Separating breastfeeding children from mothers is exceptionally cruel," 15 June 2018 What's even stranger is that once the eggs hatched, the creatures suckled their young, like mammals. Matthew Martinez, sacbee, "Fossilized skull found in Utah belongs to newly discovered half mammal, half reptile," 31 May 2018 The Porcellian was founded in 1791 as a gourmet society that held suckling pig dinners as an alternative to the Puritan school's ascetic fare. William Stadiem, Town & Country, "Can Harvard's Storied Final Clubs Resist the Tides of Change?," 2 Aug. 2016 Like Romulus or Remus, I too was suckled by the Roman she-wolf. Joshua Levine, Smithsonian, "Travel to Southern France for a Dazzling Taste of Ancient Rome," 24 May 2018

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.

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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

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

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More Definitions for suckle



English Language Learners Definition of suckle

: to give (a baby or young animal) milk from a breast or from an udder


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

Kids Definition of suckle

: to feed from the breast or udder
suck·​le | \ ˈsək-əl How to pronounce suckle (audio) \
suckled; suckling\ -​(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce suckling (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

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More from Merriam-Webster on suckle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with suckle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for suckle

Spanish Central: Translation of suckle

Nglish: Translation of suckle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on suckle

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something valued as if it were money

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