- swaddle (v.)
- "bind with long strips of cloth," late 15c. alteration of Middle English swathlen (c.1200), probably a frequentative form of Old English swaþian (see swathe). Related: Swaddled; swaddling. Phrase swaddling clothes is from Coverdale (1535) translation of Luke ii:7.
Young children ... are still bandaged in this manner in many parts of Europe to prevent them from using their limbs freely, owing to a fancy that those who are left free in infancy become deformed. [Century Dictionary, 1891]
Wyclif uses swathing-clothes (late 14c.).