Definition of toddle in US English:



  • 1no object and with adverbial of direction (of a young child) move with short unsteady steps while learning to walk.

    ‘William toddled curiously toward the TV crew’
    • ‘She stands up and toddles toward the door, unsteady on her feet.’
    • ‘He pulled her along not unkindly and she felt like a child toddling after its mother.’
    • ‘A company which has spent £250,000 converting a pub into a nursery may be forced to close before the first child toddles through the door.’
    • ‘When a little slobbery-faced child toddles up to you and says ‘Hi Daddy’ and gives you a kiss, you simply cannot turn your face away.’
    • ‘I remembered Mom sitting beside me as we watched Jenna toddle around the room, going up to various people on the benches.’
    • ‘With her attention distracted the young boy toddled over the brightly coloured shelves placed at child height and covered in toys.’
    • ‘Miraculously, Baby Jessica emerged unharmed, and the parents who let a baby toddle near open shafts weren't sent to prison for gross stupidity.’
    • ‘She smiled as she watched her two-year-old son toddle around after his grandmother.’
    • ‘She's walking now, and toddles along in the most endearing manner.’
    • ‘Carol set Kennedy down on the floor on her feet and the child toddled off to the living room where the sounds of the other children were coming from.’
    • ‘She toddles over to her father's unconscious body and continues to cry as she plops herself down beside his head, making several weak attempts to rouse him.’
    • ‘Brittany, Christina's two-year-old sister, toddles after him.’
    • ‘After all that and an ice cream, I headed back to the park for another three hours of revision, this time distracted by snogging teenagers, toddlers toddling and cricketers practising in the nets.’
    • ‘If you dump your child in the children's library so you can go off and use the computers, it is not our job to make sure your toddler doesn't toddle right out the front door.’
    • ‘Youngsters toddled in aid of Children in Need with a walk from their nursery to Menston Park.’
    • ‘It was a wonderful sight to watch the tiny tots toddle on the stage without any fear.’
    • ‘Tiny tots toddled and waddled in memory of a special friend.’
    • ‘When we park the strollers, she just gets out and toddles around.’
    • ‘Nightstone expected the grip on her feet to fade and the world to return, but instead the light broke again, and again she watched the creature hatch, lick the slime from its hide, and toddle out the entrance.’
    • ‘Typically, developing children sit up, crawl, pull themselves up, then toddle.’
    totter, teeter, wobble, falter, stagger, dodder, waddle, reel, lurch
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    1. 1.1informal Walk or go somewhere in a casual or leisurely way.
      ‘they would go for a drink and then toddle off home’
      • ‘Speaking of art, if you live in Bermuda, toddle along to the City Hall Arts Centre at 5.30 pm after work this evening.’
      • ‘She rolls her purple by colored contacts eyes, pockets her cell phone, says a curt goodbye, and toddles off to her car.’
      • ‘Okay, let's find out who won the Mercury Music Prize, then toddle off to bed…’
      • ‘So I took a little stroll downtown at lunchtime - more precisely, I toddled down to the waterfront.’
      • ‘We toddled along the prom then had a stroll on the blue flag sands.’
      • ‘The craving for something warm to drink wins the moment, so I lay down my pen and toddle off to the kitchen.’
      • ‘‘Well,’ he cleared his throat, ‘I can see that you two are busy, so I'll just toddle off then.’’
      • ‘The commission then toddles off to the Commerce Commission, and the Commerce Commission is required to have a look at it.’
      • ‘However, lodgers tend to be grown-ups who go out to work, pay their rent and toddle off out with their friends for the evening (if you choose carefully).’
      • ‘I met Ghost in the pub beforehand and we had a couple of drinks before toddling off to the Zodiac.’
      • ‘Mom, a proud coupon queen, toddles to her little local library in Brooklyn every day, to Web-surf for freebies, coupons and rebates.’
      • ‘So I leave and toddle off to Dukes, as is my long-felt wont, and there's Guy - who's never been to Dukes before in his life but ‘fancied a change’?’
      • ‘And these blokes just pop 'em on their shoulders and toddle along before throwing them into their air.’
      • ‘Yes, that's right, you can stick the probe in the meat, set the thing to beep you when it hits the right temperature, and toddle off to the deck with a Tom Collins.’
      • ‘I moan and sit up with aiding pressure from my hands, and toddle into the restroom to splash water on my face.’
      • ‘Think I'll have a wee joint, something to eat, and toddle off to my bed.’
      • ‘Speaking of the award, he said: ‘I was most surprised because I just toddle on doing a little bit now and then.’’
      • ‘So toddle off outside and measure the length and breadth of the house and multiply those figures.’
      • ‘Now that's done, I have to go toddle down to various roadside ticketing agents and see what I can scrounge up for Yo La Tengo.’
      • ‘I came here expecting a bit of a doss day: quick meeting, one hour tops; write it up; get it agreed; toddle off to enjoy the sunshine and the 32 degree heat.’
      amble, wander, meander, stroll, saunter, maunder
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  • A young child's unsteady walk.

    • ‘Children from the Kangaroo Club enjoyed a 20 minute toddle to the village park and raised sponsorship money with each step they took.’
    • ‘In May they are planning a toddle for Bernardos and an ice cream Sunday party in aid of Irish Down Syndrome.’
    • ‘The main street will be temporarily closed for the duration of the toddle to ensure the safety of the children.’
    • ‘The Jolly Tots Parent and Toddler Group are holding a sponsored toddle, crawl and pram-push today, October 14 in aid of their toy fund.’
    • ‘Preschools, playgroups and nurseries can organise their own half-mile sponsored toddles, too and if they do, they get to keep 25 per cent of the money raised.’


Late 16th century: of unknown origin.