Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To move (a small child) up and down on the knees or in the arms in a playful way.
  • transitive verb To pamper or pet.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To shake or move up and down in the arms or on the knee, as a nurse tosses or trots an infant; amuse by play.
  • Hence To fondle or make much of; treat as a child; pet; amuse.
  • To play or trifle with; put off with cajolery or trifling excuses; wheedle; cajole.
  • To defer or protract by trifles.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To move up and down on one's knee or in one's arms, in affectionate play, as an infant.
  • transitive verb To treat with fondness, as if a child; to fondle; to toy with; to pet.
  • transitive verb obsolete To play with; to put off or delay by trifles; to wheedle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To move up and down on one’s knee or in one’s arms, in affectionate play, as an infant.
  • verb To treat with fondness, as if a child; to fondle; to toy with; to pet.
  • verb obsolete To play with; to put off or delay by trifles; to wheedle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb move (a baby) up and down in one's arms or on one's knees
  • verb pet

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Compare German dändeln ("to trifle, dandle"), Old Dutch and Provincial German danten, German tand ("trifle, prattle"); Scots dandill ("dander, to go about idly, to trifle").

Examples

Comments

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  • They had not the slightest suspicion of the trick; and were eternally dandling me till I was seven years old.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 1 ch. 5

    September 12, 2008

  • Once you can manage the hunger, whet and dandle and tease, you want the shortest possible time between werewolf crime and human flight. From "The Last Werewolf" by Glen Duncan.

    March 18, 2012

  • We always called it "ridin' horsey".

    May 2, 2016

  • A mandle, for a hipster named Dan. Comes with a free bottle of beard conditioner.

    May 2, 2016