wad·​dle | \ ˈwä-dᵊl How to pronounce waddle (audio) \
waddled; waddling\ ˈwäd-​liŋ How to pronounce waddling (audio) , ˈwä-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of waddle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to walk with short steps swinging the forepart of the body from side to side
2 : to move clumsily in a manner suggesting a waddle



Definition of waddle (Entry 2 of 2)

: an awkward clumsy swaying gait

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Other Words from waddle


waddler \ ˈwäd-​lər How to pronounce waddler (audio) , ˈwä-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for waddle

Synonyms: Verb

careen, dodder, lurch, reel, stagger, teeter, totter

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Examples of waddle in a Sentence


He waddled down the hallway. A fat goose waddled across the yard.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As far as the pain level, sugaring is more like tweezing on the ouch scale—not pain-free but not waddle-to-the-subway painful. Emily Rekstis, SELF, "I Tried Sugaring and I'll Never Get Waxed Again," 25 July 2018 The room exploded in shouting, and the turtles — waddled, stopped, started, raced some, sat some, sank into their shells, meandered. Christopher Borrelli, chicagotribune.com, "Turtle racing's had a long, slow burn in Chicago," 14 Mar. 2018 The beaming couple, originally from Scotland, exchanged vows Saturday at a scenic lake near their home as friends looked on and ducks waddled by in the background. Allison Klein, Washington Post, "Husband with Alzheimer’s forgot he was married to his wife of 38 years. He proposed, and they married again.," 25 Jan. 2018 The Thursday evening setting at Lake Sedgewick was witnessed more by waddling ducks and geese than humans, but a handful of fishermen were packing up, preparing to call it a day. Donna Vickroy, Daily Southtown, "People gather at waterfronts to watch the sun set on the Southland," 11 July 2018 Last weekend, the zoo debuted two flamingo chicks, and videos of them waddling and hanging out with their parents have been trending since. Johnny Diaz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Cute baby flamingos at Florida zoo turning heads on social media," 11 July 2018 In fact, the biggest talking point of the opening stages arrived when Casemiro weirdly waddled off the pitch before the cameramen panned up to his face - revealing the Real Madrid enforcer had suffered a nose bleed. SI.com, "Brazil 2-0 Costa Rica: Late Double Makes Victory Look Easy for Brazil In Hard Fought Encounter," 22 June 2018 The charade goes on for a few more seconds, but then cuts out to the waddling toddler attempting to run after the forest creature. Alexis Hobbs, Woman's Day, "Toddler Waddles Toward Baby Deer, What Happens Next is Absolutely Precious," 21 Aug. 2015 Rather than a flurry of feathers, the pelicans waddled out slowly, unsure of their new surroundings. Erin Stone, SFChronicle.com, "Once injured, starving pelicans are rehabilitated, freed on San Francisco Bay shoreline," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Think about it: a plastic flamingo donning a waddle and autumnal plumage could cause someone to mistake it for an actual turkey. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "You Can't Be In A Fowl Mood After Seeing These Thanksgiving Flamingos," 28 Sep. 2018 Each time a turtle reached the water — after a 25-yard waddle down the beach — onlookers cheered until its hind flippers slipped out of sight. Emily Williams, BostonGlobe.com, "Five loggerhead sea turtles return to ocean after 6 months at aquarium hospital," 3 July 2018 To the delight of visitors who watch from a boardwalk, the penguins waddle, swim, build nests, and groom each other. Bella English, BostonGlobe.com, "A vacation sequel as good as the original," 13 Feb. 2018 Just as a penguin waddles, changing your center of gravity will keep you upright. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, "Some weather-related crashes amid icy conditions," 7 Feb. 2018 And more than a million Texas anglers eagerly anticipate the middle of March when water temperature warms and largemouths, especially the big females grown even heavier with developing eggs, waddle toward shallows for their annual spawn. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "March Madness arrives on Texas' waters," 10 Mar. 2018 Walk like a penguin on ice: Walk slow, feet shoulder distance apart and take small waddle steps. John Torres, NBC News, "6 ways to stay safe when it’s dangerously cold," 2 Jan. 2018 Mario Cristobal takes over the Ducks, who should lose a waddle in the coaching transition. Blair Kerkhoff, kansascity, "’Tis the season, and nobody loves bowl games more than this guy," 14 Dec. 2017 The joyride ended with a walk down the tunnel in a huff, the seething noticeable in Jonathan Quick’s waddle. Curtis Zupke, latimes.com, "Kings fall to Toronto 3-2 for their first regulation loss of the season," 23 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'waddle.' 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 waddle


1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1691, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for waddle


frequentative of wade

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Statistics for waddle

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Time Traveler for waddle

The first known use of waddle was in 1592

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More Definitions for waddle



English Language Learners Definition of waddle

: to walk with short steps while moving from side to side like a duck


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

Kids Definition of waddle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to walk with short steps swaying like a duck



Kids Definition of waddle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a way of walking by taking short steps and swaying from side to side

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More from Merriam-Webster on waddle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with waddle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for waddle

Spanish Central: Translation of waddle

Nglish: Translation of waddle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on waddle

What made you want to look up waddle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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