Meaning of Idiom ‘Rob the Cradle
To rob the cradle means to date [have a romantic or sexual relationship with] or marry someone much younger than oneself. 1Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
This expression is used to describe any relationship where one person is much younger than the other, even if neither is a minor.
Examples Of Use
“The singer was heavily criticized for marrying his own cousin, and at the same time, robbing the cradle. She was only fourteen!”
“I can’t believe old Mr. Peterson is marrying a 25-year old woman. He really likes to rob the cradle.”
Used since the first half of the 1900’s, 3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. this idiom alludes figuratively to stealing a baby out of its cradle.
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