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A doctor, straddled by a skeleton


As a verb, attested since the 1560s. Most likely, an alteration of dialectal striddle. The noun is first attested in the 1610s.


  • IPA(key): /ˈstɹæd.əl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ædəl


straddle (third-person singular simple present straddles, present participle straddling, simple past and past participle straddled)

  1. (transitive) To sit or stand with a leg on each side of something; to sit astride.
    • 1749, [John Cleland], “(Please specify the letter or volume)”, in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], London: [] G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] [], →OCLC:
      But guess my surprise, when I saw the lazy young rogue lie down on his back, and gently pull down Polly upon him, who giving way to his humour, straddled, and with her hands conducted her blind favourite to the right place
    • 1853, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Minotaur:
      As they approached the entrance of the port, the giant straddled clear across it, with a foot firmly planted on each headland,
  2. (transitive) To be on both sides of something; to have parts that are in different places, regions, etc.
    • 1978, Jimmy Carter, Proclamation 4627:
      The mountain-ringed Yukon Flats basin straddles the Arctic Circle and is bisected by the Yukon River.
  3. (transitive) To consider or favor two apparently opposite sides; to be noncommittal.
    Wanting to please both sides, he straddled the issue.
  4. (transitive) To form a disorderly sprawl; to spread out irregularly.
    This weed straddles the entire garden.
    Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks
  5. (military) To fire successive artillery shots in front of and behind of a target, especially in order to determine its range (the term "bracket" is often used instead).
  6. (poker) To place a voluntary raise prior to receiving cards (only by the first player after the blinds).
  7. (intransitive) To stand with the ends staggered; said of the spokes of a wagon wheel where they join the hub.
  8. (economy) To execute a commodities market spread.

Related terms[edit]



straddle (plural straddles)

English Wikipedia has an article on:
  1. A posture in which one straddles something.
  2. (military) A pair or salvo of successive artillery shots falling both in front of and behind a target.
    The first salvo fell short; the next was long; the third was a straddle.
  3. (finance) An investment strategy involving simultaneous trade with put and call options on the same security at the same strike price, giving a non-directional position sensitive to volatility.
  4. (poker) A voluntary raise made prior to receiving cards by the first player after the blinds.
  5. (mining) A vertical mine-timber supporting a set.



straddle (not comparable)

  1. Astride.