A pacifier (American English) or dummy (British English) is a rubber or plastic nipple given to an infant, other young child or adolescents to suck upon.


While pacifiers have taken on a general standard appearance (teat, mouth shield, and handle) they can be anything that the baby can suck on for comfort. The current incarnation evolved in the early 20th century from teething rings and were manufactured with a choice of black, maroon or white rubber – the white rubber of the day contained a certain amount of lead. Parents in the 1600s used white candy sticks as pacifiers for their children.

In the 1800s, the expression "born with a silver spoon in his mouth" could be taken almost literally – silver soothers were often given to babies born to wealth. Other expense materials were also used, with mother-of-pearl or coral being thought to ward off sickness. Cheap alternatives included the "sugar tit", a piece of dampened cloth wrapped around a small amount of sugar.