dandle

To dandle a baby or small child is to bounce him on your lap. You might dandle your little nephew to make him laugh.

When you dandle a baby, you jiggle her in your arms or move her gently up and down on your knees. Your eccentric aunt Iris might dandle her big Maine Coon cat on her lap, or her little toy poodle, but you're most likely to find the verb dandle alongside the word baby. The origin of this sixteenth century word is uncertain, though it may be related to the imitative Old French dandin, "small bell."

Definitions of dandle
1

v move (a baby) up and down in one's arms or on one's knees

Type of:
displace, move
cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense

v pet

“the grandfather dandled the small child”
Type of:
caress, fondle
touch or stroke lightly in a loving or endearing manner

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.