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1. A small low bed for an infant, often furnished with rockers.
a. The earliest period of life: had an interest in music almost from the cradle.
b. A place of origin; a birthplace: the cradle of civilization.
a. A framework of wood or metal used to support something, such as a ship undergoing construction or repair.
b. A framework used to protect an injured limb.
4. A low flat framework that rolls on casters, used by a mechanic working beneath an automobile. Also called creeper.
5. The part of a telephone that contains the connecting switch upon which the receiver and mouthpiece unit is supported.
a. A frame projecting above the blade of a scythe, used to catch grain as it is cut so that it can be laid flat.
b. A scythe equipped with such a frame.
7. A boxlike device furnished with rockers, used for washing gold-bearing dirt.
tr.v. cra·dled, cra·dling, cra·dles
a. To place or retain in a cradle.
b. To care for or nurture in infancy.
c. To hold or support protectively: cradled the cat in his arms.
d. Sports In hockey, to keep possession of (the puck) by moving the stick back and forth to prevent the puck from sliding away.
e. Sports In lacrosse, to keep possession of (the ball) by moving the stick back and forth to prevent the ball from falling to the ground or resting too low in the webbing for easy release.
2. To reap (grain) with a cradle.
3. To place or support (a ship, for example) in a cradle.
4. To wash (gold-bearing dirt) in a cradle.

[Middle English cradel, from Old English.]

cra′dler n.


(Architecture) architect a framework of iron or wood, esp as used in the construction of a ceiling