1. To bind an infant with long, narrow strips of cloth to prevent free movement
2. To wrap anything round with bandages
1. A long, narrow strip of cloth used for swaddling or bandaging
|My swaddled baby, on his first night home.|
This word goes back to the 1300's as a frequentative* form of Old English swaþian. Swaþian ("to swathe") derives from swaðu ("track, trace, band"), which comes from Proto-Germanic *swathan or *swatho. In Old English, the word for "infant's swaddling bands" was swaþum, which is the dative plural of swaðu.
*The 'frequentative form' indicates repeated action. We don't really have this in English anymore, but we used to and many forms remain in our language. Some examples: daze/dazzle, piss/piddle, flit/flitter.