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

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Other Words from coddle

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

Synonyms for coddle


boil, parboil, poach, simmer, stew

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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

Schaefer did not coddle the kids but got right back to business. Elizabeth Hernandez, The Denver Post, "“Bill’s kids”: A 77-year-old Denverite has dedicated his life to coaching spelling for free “out of the goodness of his heart”," 10 June 2019 After all, even the most coddled, opulent bird will set you back less than a similar amount of steak or lamb will. Elizabeth G. Dunn And Matthew Kronsberg, WSJ, "The Battle for Thanksgiving Heats Up," 31 Oct. 2018 The opportunities for treating our pets like Ferraris, or at least like high-maintenance children, would seem to be as plentiful as those for coddling ourselves. Peter Haldeman, New York Times, "The Secret Price of Pets," 4 July 2018 In the three hours before that meal, Golovkin had accused his next opponent, Saul (Canelo) Alvarez, of being a dirty fighter who was coddled by various boxing commissions in the most corrupt of sports. Greg Bishop,, "Gennady Golovkin's Career Doesn't Need a Signature Victory to Be Appreciated," 30 Apr. 2018 Your partner should not have to remind you, nag you, renegotiate with you, guilt-trip you, or coddle you into cleaning out the fridge every two weeks. Sophia Benoit, GQ, "This Is the Hottest Thing You Can Do for Your Relationship," 13 June 2018 Top hospitals have also started to provide concierge services, offering programs with stately names that are meant to coddle dignitaries, celebrities and international patients paying their own way. Paul Sullivan, New York Times, "An E.R. That Treats You Like a V.I.P.," 20 Apr. 2018 Real said that while society coddles people and encourages people to avoid struggles, stress is necessary. Steve Smith, Courant Community, "RHS Grads Told To Try 'What Scares You'," 26 June 2018 National-security officials saw no need to coddle Beijing. Lingling Wei, WSJ, "‘Get Moving’: How Trump Ratcheted Up the Trade Battle With China," 7 June 2018

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.

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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.

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Dictionary Entries near coddle



Coddington lens





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Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

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The first known use of coddle was in 1598

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More Definitions for coddle



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on coddle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coddle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coddle

Spanish Central: Translation of coddle

Nglish: Translation of coddle for Spanish Speakers

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showing courage and determination

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