suckle

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English[edit]

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A mother suckling an infant (painting by Mosè Bianchi)

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English sukelen; probably a back-formation of Middle English sukeling (a suckling; infant), formally equivalent to suck +‎ -le (frequentative suffix). See suckling.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

suckle (plural suckles)

  1. (obsolete) A teat.
    • 1638, Thomas Herbert, Some yeares travels into divers parts of Asia and Afrique, London: Jacob Blome and Richard Bishop, “Travels begun Anno 1626,” Book 1, p. 26,[1]
      [] the body of this fish [the Mannatee] is commonly 3 yards long and one broad, slow in swimming, wanting fins, in their place ayded with 2 paps which are not only suckles but stilts to creep a shoare upon such time she grazes []

Verb[edit]

suckle (third-person singular simple present suckles, present participle suckling, simple past and past participle suckled)

  1. (transitive) To give suck to; to nurse at the breast, udder, or dugs.
  2. (intransitive) To nurse; to suck milk from a nursing mother.
    • 1931, Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth, New York: Modern Library, 1944, Chapter 4, p. 35,[4]
      But out of the woman’s great brown breast the milk gushed forth for the child, milk as white as snow, and when the child suckled at one breast it flowed like a fountain from the other, and she let it flow.
  3. (transitive) To nurse from (a breast, nursing mother, etc.).
    • 1982, Bernard Malamud, God’s Grace, New York: Avon, 1983, p. 60[5]
      Buz attempted to suckle his left nipple.
    • 1997, Ridley Pearson, Beyond Recognition, New York: Hyperion, p. 129,[6]
      She opened her eyes slightly, like a person drugged—dreamy and quiet. The baby suckled her.

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