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

  • transitive verb To wrap, as in cloth.
  • transitive verb To wrap (a baby) in swaddling clothes.
  • transitive verb To wrap or bind in bandages; swathe.
  • noun A band or cloth used for swaddling.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A bandage or long strip of cloth used for wrapping a child, or for bandaging in any similar manner; a swaddling-band.
  • To bind with long and narrow bandages, or as if with bandages; swathe: said especially of young children, who are still bandaged in this manner in many parts of Europe to prevent them from using their limbs freely, owing to a fancy that those who are left free in infancy become deformed.
  • To beat; cudgel.

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

  • transitive verb To bind as with a bandage; to bind or warp tightly with clothes; to swathe; -- used esp. of infants.
  • transitive verb obsolete To beat; to cudgel.
  • noun Anything used to swaddle with, as a cloth or band; a swaddling band.

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

  • verb To bind (a baby) with long narrow strips of cloth.
  • verb archaic To beat; cudgel.

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

  • verb wrap in swaddling clothes


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

[Middle English swadlen, probably back-formation from swadling (band), swaddling (cloth), or swathelbonde, both from *swathelen, probably frequentative of Old English swathian, to swathe.]


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  • "Swaddling dates back to the Ancient Egyptians, who wrapped their infants in long strips of cloth, a process taking as long as two hours. Swaddled babies were then often hung on a wall peg. Swaddling is still practiced in the Balkans, presumably because the babe feels more like it did in the womb. Many Native

    Americans once swaddled their 'papooses'.

    Of course, at this time of the year, we associate today's word with Luke 2:12 `And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.` (A much better translation than the more modern, `wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough`."

    -Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary, 22 Dec 2007.

    December 22, 2007

  • Fascinating, bilby. There have been many times when I would have liked to hang one of my own children on a wall peg: ideally without swaddling them first!

    Personally, I don't think there is nearly enough swaddling going on. I would quite like to be swaddled on a regular basis.

    Just saying...

    December 22, 2007

  • Yes, the possibilities are encouraging. I'd like to swaddle a few politicians and hang them in the Idiot Gallery.

    December 22, 2007

  • Further discussion can be found on moro reflex.

    December 4, 2009

  • Eating Animals

    June 28, 2010

  • "The biggest limitation to this research may be the definition of swaddling itself. The authors of the study acknowledge one of the “several” limitations to their meta-analysis is the fact that none of the studies they reviewed clearly outlined what constitutes a swaddle. And besides that, as anyone who has tried to swaddle a baby can confirm, good swaddling takes practice. Many parents, for fear of too tightly wrapping their babies, end up swaddling too loosely, which is itself a suffocation hazard. (Some daycare centers in the United States don’t allow swaddling for this reason.)"


    August 16, 2017

  • Is there a danger in wallowing 'swaddling'?

    August 17, 2017

  • does it drag on?

    August 24, 2017