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

transitive verb

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

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 But the root problems are an epidemic of boredom, a lack of meaning, and an expectation of being coddled. Frederick M. Hess, National Review, 21 Dec. 2023 To say nothing of Israel, which would not accept, nor should be forced to accept, a Palestinian state that coddles and provides safe harbor for terrorists. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 19 Jan. 2024 The juvenile reform passed during the most recent legislative sessions didn’t prioritize consequences but instead allowed for coddling. For Carroll County Times, Baltimore Sun, 14 Jan. 2024 Others were intended for their use as animal sacrifices, while others still were treated as pets, coddled and cherished by their caretakers, or respected as representatives of the afterlife. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 11 Jan. 2024 Rods, reels, and tackle are tools for a job and, in my opinion, shouldn’t be coddled any more than the screwdrivers and hammers at your work bench. Joe Cermele, Outdoor Life, 7 Dec. 2023 Its position here on Hallmark has allowed it to be coddled and babied and put to the front in a way that probably would not have been on another service. Vulture, 16 Nov. 2023 For too long, universities have forsaken their core values to coddle a radical agenda. Marc Sarnoff, National Review, 23 Oct. 2023 That means the key is not to hand-wring over the details so much as strike a good balance: Don’t coddle workers, but don’t disparage their efforts, either. Jane Thier, Fortune, 19 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'coddle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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.

First Known Use

1651, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of coddle was in 1651

Dictionary Entries Near coddle

Cite this Entry

“Coddle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


cod·​dle ˈkäd-ᵊl How to pronounce coddle (audio)
coddled; coddling ˈkäd-liŋ How to pronounce coddle (audio)
: to cook slowly in water below the boiling point
coddle eggs
: to treat with extreme care or kindness : pamper

More from Merriam-Webster on coddle

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