verb (used with object), dan·dled, dan·dling.

  1. to move (a baby, child, etc.) lightly up and down, as on one’s knee or in one’s arms.
  2. to pet; pamper.

verb (tr)

  1. to move (a young child, etc) up and down (on the knee or in the arms)
  2. to pet; fondle

1520s, of unknown origin. Perhaps somehow felt to be imitative. Cf. Italian dondolare “to dandle, swing,” and French dandiner, from Old French dandin “small bell,” imitative of its sound. Related: Dandled; dandling.

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