The verb is from side + -le (frequentative suffix), possibly a back-formation from sideling (“in a sidelong direction; askew, obliquely”, adverb), treating that word as the present participle of sidle.
The noun is derived from the verb.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈsaɪdl/
Audio (RP) (file)
- (General American) enPR: sīd-(ə)l, IPA(key): /ˈsaɪdəl/
- Rhymes: -aɪd(ə)l
- Hyphenation: sid‧le
- (transitive, intransitive, also figuratively) To (cause something to) move sideways. [from late 17th c.]
- 1836, [Catherine Gore], The Diary of a Désennuyée. [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Published by Henry Colburn, […], OCLC 82849866, pages 176–177:
- [F]rom the circle of delighted auditors listening to the gentillesses of the pink cockatoo, who was sidling on his stand in the sunshine, a whole party of the Beresfords caught sight of me, and in a minute I was surrounded; [...]
- 1842, A. Lawson, “131. The Achievements of the Horse.”, in The Modern Farrier; or, The Art of Preserving the Health and Curing the Diseases of Horses, Dogs, Oxen, Cows, Sheep, and Swine. […], 25th edition, London: G[eorge] Virtue, […]; Newcastle: R. Dent, OCLC 560966561, page 257:
- The mare never moved; but after immense weight had been placed on both, the horse began to sidle, and before the last bag could be put on him, he sunk on his knees; it was put on the mare, and she bore it, never moving her posture until she was unloaded.
- 2011, Charles M[arion] Russell, “Range Horses”, in Stephen [Vincent] Brennan, editor, The Best Cowboy Stories Ever Told, New York, N.Y.: Skyhorse Publishing, →ISBN, page 478:
- You could drive a band of hosses up the steepest kind of hill but nobody that I ever knowed could drive a bunch straight down (that goes with cows, too)—they'd sidle it every time.
- (transitive, intransitive, also figuratively) In the intransitive sense often followed by up: to (cause something to) advance in a coy, furtive, or unobtrusive manner.
- 1842, Charles Dickens, “Worcester. The Connecticut River. Hartford. New Haven. To New York.”, in American Notes for General Circulation. [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Chapman and Hall, […], OCLC 233677023, pages 176–177:
- There was one little prim old lady, of very smiling and good-humoured appearance, who came sidling up to me from the end of a long passage, [...]
- 1853 July, “Niagara”, in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, volume VII, number XXVIII, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, publishers, […], OCLC 924884025, page 290, column 2:
- A small lad, with a large head and faded yellow hair, sidles up to you, and says something about "Ing'n work," or "Cur'osities," or "Cam'ra 'bscura," or "Guide." You give some sharp, quick answer; the small boy collapses and vanishes.
- 1877 March, “[Humorous Department.] The Barrel Organ.”, in Belford’s Monthly Magazine. A Magazine of Literature and Art, volume I, Toronto, Ont.: Belford Brothers, publishers, […], OCLC 624542123, page 589:
- A sharper sidleth up to him, / "Why bettest thou not?" saith he. / For a moment's space the stranger's face / Was a wondrous thing to see.
- 1914 April, Eric H. May, “The Metamorphosis of a ‘Fusser’”, in Paul Sykes, editor, Vox Lycei: Official Organ of the Ottawa Collegiate Institute, volume XXIX, number 1, Ottawa, Ont.: Ottawa Collegiate Institute, OCLC 39276719, page 16:
- One day he sidles up to a group, listens to the conversation for a moment, and actually puts in a remark. "I beg your pardon!" says one of the girls politely who has not heard his modest effort at conversation. For a moment Alexander remains rooted to the ground, he stammers out something unintelligible, the whole group turns and looks at him; this completes his confusion, he turns and sidles back to his seat, his face as hot as can be, and remains lost in a Latin grammer[sic, meaning grammar] for at least half an hour.
- 1934, William Butler Yeats, “[Supernatural Songs] He and She”, in The King of the Great Clock Tower, Commentaries and Poems, Dublin: The Cuala Press, OCLC 2201371; republished New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, May 1935, OCLC 1380199, page 43:
- As the moon sidles up / Must she sidle up, / As trips the scared moon / Away must she trip, [...]
- 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter VIII, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855:
- At an early point in these exchanges I had started to sidle to the door, and I now sidled through it, rather like a diffident crab on some sandy beach trying to avoid the attentions of a child with a spade.
- 1988, Bruce Chatwin, Utz, London: Jonathan Cape, →ISBN; republished London: Vintage Books, 2005, →ISBN, page 50:
- Marta's gander was a magnificent snow-white bird: the object of terror to foxes, children and dogs. She had reared him as a gosling; and whenever he approached, he would let fly a low contented burble and sidle his neck around her thighs.
- sidling (noun)
sidle (plural sidles)
- An act of sidling.
- A sideways movement.
- 2015, Meredith Castile, “America”, in Drivers License (Object Lessons), New York, N.Y.; London: Bloomsbury Academic, Bloomsbury Publishing, →ISBN, page 1:
- [I]n this mythic America, we fly along in the fast lane, placing bets against flashing lights in the rearview mirror, against the dreaded sidle into the gravel and the voice at the window demanding our license.
- A furtive advance.
- 1855 July 4, Walt Whitman, “[Song of Myself]”, in Leaves of Grass, Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.: [James and Andrew Rome], OCLC 930780804, page 55:
- Listener up there! Here you … what have you to confide in me? / Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening, / Talk honestly, for no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.
- A sideways movement.