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wad·​dle ˈwä-dᵊl How to pronounce waddle (audio)
waddled; waddling
ˈwä-dᵊl-iŋ How to pronounce waddle (audio)

intransitive verb

: to walk with short steps swinging the forepart of the body from side to side
: to move clumsily in a manner suggesting a waddle
ˈwä-dᵊl-ər How to pronounce waddle (audio)


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: an awkward clumsy swaying gait

Examples of waddle in a Sentence

Verb He waddled down the hallway. A fat goose waddled across the yard.
Recent Examples on the Web
Besides all the bald eagles flying overhead, the steep rock walls and the towering fir trees, there are ospreys catching fish, geese waddling on the beach and Big Horn sheep at our lunch spot. Eileen Ogintz, Chicago Tribune, 10 Aug. 2023 Oregon waddling around with a Big Ten swagger would be dangerous. J. Brady McCollough, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2023 This week, Warner said some recovering sea lions are waddling back toward the ocean, and calls about other sick marine mammals have decreased. Kyle Melnick, Washington Post, 7 July 2023 This spring, Freda strolled up the Garners' driveway with 11 ducklings waddling behind her. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 25 June 2023 As some Canada geese waddled nearby, Russell considered the disparities between these two roles. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, 18 Apr. 2023 Pokémon Day 2023, showed a blissful, sandy beach with a Psyduck waddling along the shore. Jordan Moreau, Variety, 27 Feb. 2023 Beavers waddled the Texas coastal plain at least 22 million years ago and are found through most of eastern Texas today. Adithi Ramakrishnan, Dallas News, 28 Mar. 2023 Long after the Lakers locker room has cleared out, the smallest player on the team waddles toward his locker. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 28 Mar. 2023
That’s a polite way of saying waddle. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 14 June 2021 Looking at a waddle of penguins, our sense is of hundreds of automata with roughly interchangeable personalities, and thus no personalities at all. Mark Changizi, Discover Magazine, 7 Dec. 2011 The show includes a waddle of penguins, a mischievous garden of flowers, a drag queen, and other fanciful characters. oregonlive, 7 Dec. 2022 Jayden — who had grown thickset, with curly black hair and a pigeon-toed waddle — needed new socks and sippy cups. Brett Murphy, ProPublica, 20 Nov. 2022 Draw on the waddle and snood with red and orange markers. Meaghan Murphy, Good Housekeeping, 11 Nov. 2022 Jango likes to walk around with a waddle, letting his thick coat sway back and forth. Linda McIntosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Mar. 2022 General manager Chris Grier had to appreciate seeing Waddle’s celebratory waddle a week ago and Phillips’ celebratory sack somersault the next. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, 6 Dec. 2021 Rodents missing a functional RORB gene waddle like ducks. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, 25 Mar. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'waddle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



frequentative of wade

First Known Use


1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1691, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of waddle was in 1592

Dictionary Entries Near waddle

Cite this Entry

“Waddle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waddle. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
wad·​dle ˈwäd-ᵊl How to pronounce waddle (audio)
waddled; waddling ˈwäd-liŋ How to pronounce waddle (audio)
: to walk with short steps swaying from side to side
ducks waddling to the water
: to move slowly and awkwardly
the big boat waddled upstream
-lər How to pronounce waddle (audio)


2 of 2 noun
: an awkward swaying walk

More from Merriam-Webster on waddle

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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