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cat's cradle

Something intricately or overly complex and/or elaborate. Likened to the children's game of the same name in which string is wound around and between one's fingers to create intricate patterns. The new healthcare legislation is a baffling cat's cradle of regulations, requirements, and loopholes.
See also: cradle


(used as a modifier before a noun) Lasting the full spectrum of life, existence, or a given process; that is, from the first point to the very last. Derived from the phrase "from the cradle to the grave" (or "from cradle to grave"). Our cradle-to-grave assessment of material processing ensures that our products remain environmentally sustainable at all levels of development. This cradle-to-grave study will monitor the effects of the drug from patients' infancy until their death, allowing for a comprehensive assessment of its benefits and potential side effects.


A jocular term for someone who is romantically involved with a much younger person. I wouldn't have pegged Jeff as a cradle-robber, but I just saw him around town with a girl who looks like she's barely out of high school.


A jocular term for someone who is romantically involved with a much younger person. Dating sites seem to be filled with nothing but cradle-snatchers looking for women who are 20 years younger than them.

from the cradle to the grave

Fig. from birth to death. The government promised to take care of us from the cradle to the grave. You can feel secure and well-protected from the cradle to the grave.
See also: cradle, grave

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

Prov. Mothers are the most powerful people, because they shape their children's personalities. When Lena got pregnant, Lena's mother told her to take her responsibility seriously, because the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
See also: cradle, hand, rock, rule, world

rob the cradle

Fig. to marry or date someone who is much younger than oneself. I hear that Bill is dating Ann. Isn't that sort of robbing the cradle? She's much younger than he is. Uncle Billwho is nearly eightymarried a thirty-year-old woman. That is really robbing the cradle.
See also: cradle, rob

from the cradle to the grave

also from cradle to grave
during the whole period of your life Free medical care might not be with us from the cradle to the grave, as we once hoped.
Etymology: based on the idea that the cradle (small bed for a baby) represents the beginning of a life, the grave (burying place) represents the end of a life
See also: cradle, grave

from the cradle to the grave

during the whole of your life Free medical care might not be with us from the cradle to the grave, as we once hoped.
See also: cradle, grave

a cradle-robber

  (American humorous)
someone who has a romantic or sexual relationship with a much younger partner He's a cradle-robber. He married a 16-year-old and he's nearly 30! (American Humorous)

a cradle-snatcher

  (British & Australian humorous)
someone who has a romantic or sexual relationship with a much younger partner He's three years younger than you? You cradle-snatcher! (British & Australian humorous)

The hand that rocks the cradle (rules the world).

something that you say which means women are very powerful because they have most influence over the way in which children develop into adults The article claimed that most of the world's dictators had very domineering mothers. You know what they say, the hand that rocks the cradle.
See could do with one arm tied behind back, hand over the baton, bite the hand that feeds, force hand, hold hand, keep hand in, lay a hand on, lend a hand, live hand to mouth, overplay hand, raise hand against, show hand, throw in hand, tip hand, try hand at, turn hand to, wait on hand and foot, on the one hand...on the other hand, give to on a plate, give to on a platter, have fingers in the till
See also: cradle, hand, rock

from the cradle to the grave

From birth to death, throughout life, as in This health plan will cover you from cradle to grave. Richard Steele used the term in The Tatler (1709): "A modest fellow never has a doubt from his cradle to his grave." [c. 1700]
See also: cradle, grave

rob the cradle

Have a romantic or sexual relationship with someone much younger than oneself, as in The old editor was notorious for robbing the cradle, always trying to date some young reporter . [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]
See also: cradle, rob

rob the cradle

To have a romantic or sexual relationship with someone significantly younger than oneself.
See also: cradle, rob
References in periodicals archive ?
With so many kids right here in our communities who are in-need, we are thrilled to be able to deliver, literally, a truck filled with donations to the Cradles To Crayons' Giving Factory so that these young students are ready to head back to school," says Eliot Tatelman, President/CEO of Jordan's Furniture.
Two workers were pulled from a maintenance cradle after they became stuck while working at the 23rd floor of a building in Abu Dhabi.
Kostelnik for his wonderful article on Cheyenne cradles and other articles dedicated to Cheyenne culture.
Each of the H-frame cradles that supports the models has an adjustable collar that can be moved in two directions, to take account of variations in size (models currently range from 700mm to 2300mm long).
We use cradles to support the patrol boats and make them easier to transport," Whitehead said.
The conservator should become conversant with the various scanning devices, including the use of special book cradles, such as the Linhof cradle, the Manfred Mayer cradle, and various other devices designed to avoid having books open to an 180-degree angle (Chapman, 2002).
Narrow Fiber Cradles (NFC) are designed to protect rolled and cylindrical products four to eleven inches in diameter during shipping, handling and warehousing.
The chains pull cradles that ride above the floor along two sets of rails, and the planes sit atop the cradles.
18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- From July 7, 2014 through September 9, 2014, all Jordan's Furniture store locations and the Taunton Distribution Center collected like-new and new clothes and shoes for children (infant to 12 years old) to go toward the Cradles to Crayons "Ready For School" program.
Reading Brave Hearts and Their Cradles provided me with a perspective on this Native American art form that I had previously been lacking.
About 30 craftsmen and El Camino Real High School students teamed up Saturday in what has become a San Fernando Valley tradition, building doll cradles and toy dump trucks for needy children.
com) today announced the availability of products to complement the company's WiFi phones: two cradles that keep phones charged and ready; one of which even has an integrated wireless access point.
The Saturn enclosure and cradle systems are designed with direct point-to-point connection from the hard drive to the enclosure and the drive cradles for the most reliable connection.
Over the next six months, cradles will also be released for the MultiRAE Plus, 5-gas monitor and QRAE Plus, 4-gas monitor.
The kits includes: two IDE-Serial ATA converters; one Serial ATA PCI host controller with on-board RAID Level 0/1 support; two Combo Hard Drive enclosures; and two Combo Hard Drive Desktop Drive Cradles.