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

Shingleback lizards, with shiny black scales resembling medieval armor and garish blue tongues, waddled onto the road. David Maurice Smith, Smithsonian, "A 42,000-Year-Old Man Finally Goes Home," 23 Aug. 2019 Atlantic puffins, with their colorful beaks and waddling walks, are one of New England’s best recognized seabirds. Patrick Whittle, The Denver Post, "Puffins fill up nesting islands this year despite challenges," 5 Aug. 2019 Her eccentric mother, Sarah Mellon Scaife, tried to breed emperor penguins to waddle the grounds after the craze over Adm. Richard E. Byrd’s Antarctic expeditions. Nicholas Kulish, New York Times, "Why an Heiress Spent Her Fortune Trying to Keep Immigrants Out," 14 Aug. 2019 At Boulders Beach, watch thousands of African penguins waddle about their business. National Geographic, "Southern Africa Family Journey: In Search of the Big Five," 12 June 2019 There is the woman who waddles down the sidewalk, her thick hair bouncing in step and obscuring her face entirely except for the peepholes around her eyes. New York Times, "‘All Was Going Well When I Noticed a Rustling Under Some Shrubbery’," 17 June 2019 Now and then, a sea lion will waddle a block or two into downtown Astoria. Sallie Tisdale, Harper's magazine, "Catechism of the Waters," 10 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For the waddle: Cut a small pieces of licorice in a L shape and stick one on a side of the nose. Kate Merker, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make the Cutest Thanksgiving Cake Pops," 28 Aug. 2019 Mace said rangers managed to extract the birds from under the store’s freezer and put them in a special nesting box on the harbor, which is about a 200-meter (660-foot) waddle from the store. Washington Post, "Nesting penguins can’t resist lure of New Zealand sushi shop," 18 July 2019 Crowe doesn't impersonate Ailes so much as inhabit him, from his padded waddle to his thunderous bouts of anger. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'The Loudest Voice' makes noise with damning portrait of Roger Ailes," 26 June 2019 As penguins squawk in the background and waddle around on small ridges, Boehme and his team look for seals to tag with sensors that will track the layer of warm water that’s thought to be melting Thwaites. Stephen Witt, WIRED, "Fitted With Sensors, Antarctic Seals Track Water Temperatures," 25 June 2019 Their striking appearance and jaunty waddles spark endless fascination among wildlife watchers and zoogoers alike. National Geographic, "How penguins show their smarts," 25 Apr. 2019 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

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

Last Updated

30 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


fear of the number 13

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