cod·​dle | \ ˈkä-dᵊl How to pronounce coddle (audio) \
coddled; coddling\ ˈkäd-​liŋ How to pronounce coddling (audio) , ˈkä-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of coddle

transitive verb

1 : to cook (something, such as eggs) in liquid slowly and gently just below the boiling point coddled the eggs for the Caesar salad
2 : to treat with extreme or excessive care or kindness : pamper accused the court of coddling criminals colleges that coddle their athletes

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from coddle

coddler \ ˈkäd-​lər How to pronounce coddler (audio) , ˈkä-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for coddle


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of coddle in a Sentence

The judges were accused of coddling criminals. a hearty, traditional breakfast that included coddled eggs
Recent Examples on the Web They were unfazed by longtime speculation that Lodi is too hot to coddle Cabernet Sauvignon. Mike Dunne,, "At Mettler Family, Cabernet Sauvignon in Zinfandel country," 13 July 2020 Babyteeth doesn’t coddle its protagonist, but rather meets her on her fraught emotional journey. Anne Cohen,, "Babyteeth Blows Up The Teen Cancer Romance Movie Trope," 18 June 2020 Once returned, the manufacturer will recondition the unit, evaluating core components and replacing cosmetic and worn-out parts before delivering it to the next kid lucky enough to be coddled in its space-age cocoon. Noah Joseph, Car and Driver, "Car Designer Frank Stephenson Reinvents the Child Car Seat," 5 May 2020 Sometimes adult children need to declare independence from parents who have either coddled or abused them. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, "Another effect of the coronavirus crisis: Forgiveness," 5 May 2020 Parents who seemed to support and encourage the higher education process without coddling or pushing. Ned Johnson,, "College admissions scandal: Even if you could give your kid everything, should you?," 20 Sep. 2019 Why 'Becoming' will please supporters and tick off detractors As for the Trump loyalists who carp about how the media coddled the Obamas, Hallgren includes a few clips that are like a punch in the gut. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Becoming,' the Netflix film about Michelle Obama, should include warnings for Trump fans," 4 May 2020 The tendency of both sides to exaggerate our challenges into calamities may point, instead, to a deep-seated, possibly ineradicable craving among overly coddled postmodern men and women for an experience of intense danger. Damon Linker, TheWeek, "Confessions of a coronavirus skeptic," 23 Mar. 2020 Born to wealth and coddled throughout his education, Trump was handed every opportunity and still made a mess of things. Washington Post, "Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent Wisconsin editorials," 20 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coddle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of coddle

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for coddle

perhaps altered from caudle "to administer a caudle to," verbal derivative of caudle

Note: The meaning "to pamper," earlier "to treat as if in need of nursing," attested from the second half of the 18th century, cannot be related with certainty to the cooking sense and may be of distinct origin.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about coddle

Time Traveler for coddle

Time Traveler

The first known use of coddle was in 1598

See more words from the same year

Statistics for coddle

Last Updated

23 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Coddle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for coddle


How to pronounce coddle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of coddle

disapproving : to treat (someone) with too much care or kindness


cod·​dle | \ ˈkä-dᵊl How to pronounce coddle (audio) \
coddled; coddling

Kids Definition of coddle

: to treat with too much care : pamper

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on coddle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coddle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coddle

Spanish Central: Translation of coddle

Nglish: Translation of coddle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on coddle

What made you want to look up coddle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!