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Compare Scots dandill (to dander; go about idly; move uncertainly; trifle), English dialectal dander (to wander about; talk incoherently; rave), Middle Dutch dantinnen (to trifle) (from French dandiner (to swing; waddle)), German dändeln, tändeln (to trifle, dandle), Middle Dutch and Provincial German danten (to do foolish things; trifle), German Tand (trifle, prattle).



dandle (third-person singular simple present dandles, present participle dandling, simple past and past participle dandled)

  1. (transitive) To move up and down on one's knee or in one's arms, in affectionate play, as an infant.
  2. (transitive) To treat with fondness, as if a child; to fondle; to toy with; to pet.
    • (Can we date this quote by Addison?)
      [T]hey have put me in a silk night-gown and gaudy fool's cap, and make me now and then stand in the window with it. I am ashamed to be dandled thus, and cannot look in the glass without blushing to see myself turned into such a pretty little master.
    • (Can we date this quote by Francis Jeffrey, Lord Jeffrey?)
      The book, thus dandled into popularity by bishops and good ladies, contained many pieces of nursery eloquence.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To play with; to put off or delay by trifles; to wheedle.
    • (Can we date this quote by Edmund Spenser?)
      Captains do so dandle their doings, and dally in the service, as if they would not have the enemy subdued.

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