Cradle is a name given to a supporting frame of timbers, which is placed under the bottom of a ship, in order to conduct her steadily into the water when she is to be launched, at which time it supports her weight while she slides down the inclined plane or slip, which is for this purpose smeared with soap. The bedsteads for wounded seamen are also called cradles; these, as well as those used for rocking children, require no particular description.