cod·​dle | \ˈkä-dᵊl \
coddled; coddling\ ˈkäd-​liŋ , 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 , ˈkä-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

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

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 Who will parents benignly ignore while lionizing the achievements of their first born and coddling their babies? Melissa Locker, Southern Living, "Are Middle Children A Thing Of The Past?," 11 July 2018 Yes, the cruise is set up as a deeply maternal experience, a place of nurturing, even coddling. Michael Ian Black, New York Times, "Cruises Are So Uncool They Are Cool," 3 July 2018 Trump's muted criticism of a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year was a watershed moment, when a sitting U.S. president seemed to initially coddle white supremacists. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Trump’s hard-line view of immigration draws parallels to the 1930s," 25 June 2018 Chambers, according to prosecutors, said the toddler might grow up gay if his mother didn't stop coddling him. Michael Gordon, charlotteobserver, "The mom's boyfriend said her son might grow up to be gay. Now he's accused of his murder.," 19 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

26 Sep 2018

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The first known use of coddle was in 1598

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English Language Learners Definition of coddle

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


cod·​dle | \ˈkä-dᵊl \
coddled; coddling

Kids Definition of coddle

: to treat with too much care : pamper

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full of whispering sounds

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