To cradle is to hold delicately and gently, like how you would hold an infant. A cradle is the tiny bed with rockers that the infant sleeps in.
The word cradle comes to us from the Old English word cradol, which meant "little bed or cot." And while it is important to cradle a baby's head when you pick them up out of their cradle, this word isn't all baby talk. Ever heard of ancient Greece? Otherwise known as "the cradle of democracy?" That's because the noun version of cradle can be used to poetically describe the birthplace of a movement or the area where an early idea was nurtured.