cradle

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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

cradle-to-grave

(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.

cradle-robber

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.

cradle-snatcher

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.

the hand that rocks the cradle (rules the world)

Mothers ultimately have the greatest power in the world because they influence the way their children develop and the things they do when they grow up. It's important that we offer mothers every support we can. After all, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
See also: cradle, hand, rock, that

from the cradle to the grave

Lasting the full spectrum of life, existence, or a given process; that is, from the first point to the very last. She's been my best friend since we were babies, so I just know we'll be together from the cradle to the grave.
See also: cradle, grave

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, that, 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

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

cradle-snatching

BRITISH or

robbing the cradle

AMERICAN
Cradle-snatching is the practice of having a sexual relationship with a much younger partner. The woman is even older than his mother. It's cradle snatching! There'll always be those who accuse you of robbing the cradle. Note: You can describe someone who does this in British English as a cradle snatcher or, in American English, as a cradle robber. The ageing actress is a cradle snatcher, says her toyboy's family. Women who make off with men 15 to 30 years younger are viewed as neurotic cradle robbers. Note: These expressions are usually used in a disapproving way.

from the cradle to the grave

or

from cradle to grave

If something happens from the cradle to the grave or from cradle to grave, it happens throughout all of a person's life. The bond of brotherhood was one to last from the cradle to the grave. He believed that the state was ultimately responsible for the individual and should look after him from cradle to grave.
See also: cradle, grave

from the cradle to the grave

all through a person's life, from beginning to end.
See also: cradle, grave

from the ˌcradle to the ˈgrave

from birth to death; throughout your whole life: The new ministry was formed to look after citizens’ social welfare from the cradle to the grave. ▶ ˌcradle-to-ˈgrave adj.: Their conclusions are based on two cradle-to-grave studies conducted in Germany.
See also: cradle, grave

ˌrob the ˈcradle

(American English, informal) have a sexual relationship with a much younger person: She robbed the cradle when she married me. ▶ ˈcradle-rob (American English) (British English ˈcradle-snatch) verb ˈcradle-robber (American English) (British English ˈcradle-snatcher) noun: Tim, you’re such a cradle snatcher. She’s like ten years younger than you!
See also: cradle, rob

rob the cradle

Informal
To have a romantic or sexual relationship with someone significantly younger than oneself.
See also: cradle, rob