cradle hole n Also cradle, ~ hollow chiefly NE, esp NEng Cf DCan 1826→, DPEIE (cradle hollow) 1975, cradle knoll n
A small pit or depression, esp a pothole or abrupt dip or ridge in a roadway.
1827 Woodstock Observer & Windsor & Orange Co. Gaz. (VT) [6 Feb 3]/2, Amos Dodge . . accidentally, as his sleigh pitched into a cradle-hole . . , fell from his load forward of the sleigh. 1832 Natl. Aegis & Genl. Advt. (Worcester MA) 8 Feb 2/2, Mr. Stephen Thomas . . was killed in Henniker . . in consequence of his loaded sleigh being plunged into a cradle hole. 1853 Washington Sentinel (DC) [24 Dec 2]/6 NH, It took fifteen men to take the beam off of him, and yet the beam did not injure him much, as he lay in a cradle hole of the bricks, with the beam across his back; otherwise the beam would have crushed his back to a jelly. 1859 Turnbull–Turnbull Amer. Photographs 1.310 Boston MA, After a few days the streets became almost impassable, having become one mass of corrugated snow. The Bostonians call the corrugations “cradles,” and every person who went out in a closed vehicle came home sea-sick. 1869 Harper’s New Mth. Mag. 38.291, We descended hills as if pursued by wolves or a guilty conscience, and it was generally our fate to find a huge oukhaba, or cradle-hollow, just when the horses were doing their best. 1871 New Engl. Farmer ns 5.128, Some hurricane had probably prostrated by the roots a forest of large trees that once grew on this land, for its surface was a succession of cradle-holes and hillocks. 1874 Daily Freeman (Kingston NY) 4 June /1, Why isn’t that cradle hole on the corner of Fair and John streets in upper Kingston. . filled up? 1884 Weakley et al. Hist. Erie Co. PA 124, Upon the flats a mile or so below the city of Titusville are many acres of cradle holes dug out and lined with split logs, evidently constructed for the purpose of gathering it [=petroleum]. 1895 DN 1.385 swPA, Breaker: ridge of earth in hilly part of country road, to throw surface water into side ditches. . . (Other names for same thing: “thank-you-ma’am,” cradle (in-the-road).) 1897 NH Bd. Ag. NH Ag. for 1894–96 98, Scraping the mud from the gutters into the cradle-holes which the wheels have formed in the trackway proves totally unserviceable. 1912 Niles Hoosac Valley 12, Many Cohohas (cradle-hollows, or potholes) appear in the harder schistose rocks of the gorge, used by the Hoosac squaws as mortars in which to pound corn with stone-pestles. 1960 Newport Daily Express (VT) 3 Feb 5/1, Logs were delivered to the mill on sleds drawn by two or four horses. Where these teams stopped to rest were often depressions caused by the difficult starting of the heavy loads. Quite often there would be several of these in row. The hole was called a “cradle hole”, a “caheosh” or a “Kiss me—Ma’am.” 1982 Greenfield Recorder (MA) 27 Feb sec A 4, If you drove a horse and sleigh in spring, you must remember the “cradle holes” that had to be avoided. They were about the same as the present-day holes.