Definition of cradle in English:


Syllabification: cra·dle
Pronunciation: /ˈkrādl


  • 1An infant’s bed or crib, typically one mounted on rockers.
    More example sentences
    • Cribs, cradles and bassinets are traditionally woven from wickerwork.
    • Rockers were found on cradles as early as the fifteenth century.
    • I looked towards the never-ending horizon, which was already holding the sun like a baby in a cradle.
  • 1.1 (the cradle) Infancy: a society that would secure the welfare of its citizens from cradle to grave
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    • A person's journey from the cradle to the grave should be filled with joyous revelation, not filibustering and legislation.
    • In all their growing years, from the cradle until their 18th birthday, no one will ever, in any purposeful way, have said ‘No’ to them.
    • Collins is 41, a politician from the cradle, living and breathing the Westminster air.
  • 1.2 (the cradle of) A place, process, or event in which something originates or flourishes: he saw Greek art as the cradle of European civilization
    More example sentences
    • Furthermore, this land is the cradle and location of most of the important events of Christianity.
    • It was not long before Hispanic ballplayers earned their well-deserved place in the cradle of American baseball.
    • Big cities are both cradles and magnets for enterprise and creativity.
    birthplace, fount, fountainhead, source, spring, fountain, origin, place of origin, seat
    literary wellspring
  • 2A framework resembling a cradle, in particular.
    More example sentences
    • Content can also be displayed on a TV via the docking cradle.
    • Another handy new feature is the USB download cradle.
    • Logitech cleverly ships a charging cradle for their high-end cordless mice.
  • 2.1A framework on which a ship or boat rests during construction or repairs.
    More example sentences
    • Calamity struck when the cradle on the trailer collapsed and crushed her boat.
    • High water levels, again, floated many boats off their lift cradles or up through roofs of covered docks.
    • Sounds of voices barking instructions competed with the rattle of chains as the boat and cradle were lowered down the slipway.
  • 2.2The part of a telephone on which the receiver rests when not in use.
    More example sentences
    • His fingers made their way to the cradle the receiver was resting on, then just snatched the thing off and held it to his ear.
    • After a moment, she took the telephone from its cradle, dialing in a number quickly, and the recipient answered.
    • He pulled the receiver out of the cradle and dialed the number for the poison center at the local hospital.
  • 2.3 Mining A trough on rockers in which auriferous earth or sand is shaken in water to separate the gold.
    More example sentences
    • It felt as if we were the contents of a cradle sifting out precious gold from the riverbank.


[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Hold gently and protectively: she cradled his head in her arms
    More example sentences
    • Tory stood slowly, gathering her bag into her arms, cradling it protectively to her chest
    • He sighed gently, cradling his bruised hand as an afterthought.
    • So O'Neill picked me up bridal style, cradling me gently in his arms.
    hold, support, pillow, cushion, shelter, protect; rest, prop (up)
  • 1.1Be the place of origin of: the northeastern states cradled an American industrial revolution
    More example sentences
    • She was the youngest daughter's youngest: cherished and protected and spoiled, cradled within the family's golden cocoon.
    • Marconi is the person at Weidlinger whose mind is currently cradling the vorticity confinement idea.
    • While the fallen have long since cast off their earthly form, the land which cradled them and shared their suffering will never disappear.
  • 2Place (a telephone receiver) in its cradle.
    More example sentences
    • Dad cradled the receiver just as the glob I flicked from my spoon landed directly on my brother's nose.
    • Leigh cradled the receiver carefully and looked at the small clock on the table beside her.
    • A telephone lay cradled in the perpendicular base under the directory.


Old English cradol, of uncertain origin; perhaps related to German Kratte 'basket'.

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