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)

Example Sentences

The judges were accused of coddling criminals. a hearty, traditional breakfast that included coddled eggs
Recent Examples on the Web Republicans for decades, going back to George H. W. Bush's 1988 presidential campaign, have sought to paint Democrats as eager to coddle felons, an attack Democrats have said is unfair and untrue. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 31 Oct. 2022 There’s a gentle positivity to the day, one that wants to wrap you up in a blanket and coddle you. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 21 Sep. 2022 The experiments in the two places suggest that the same technologies used to terrorize and remold those who are thought to resist the party’s authority can be deployed to coddle and reassure those who accept its rule. Josh Chin, WSJ, 2 Sep. 2022 At first, the film appears to be a quirky story about an awkward adult with little to no social skills, which his family and friends detrimentally coddle. Keith Nelson, Men's Health, 21 July 2022 Written in decisive prose, Scheier does not coddle herself or her mother. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, 1 Mar. 2022 With substantial support under the arch and the midsole’s rockered roll, these shoes coddle the feet, requiring little from them for stability or propulsion. Adam Chase, Outside Online, 10 Sep. 2021 Its top leadership moved away from that mission during President Donald Trump’s time in office, instead choosing to coddle financial companies and give in to their complaints of too much governance. Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2021 The health consequences for the GOP in continuing to coddle the unvaccinated minority of Americans are bracing at a time when nearly 1,000 Americans are still dying from Covid each day. Maeve Reston, CNN, 3 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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 28 Nov. 2022.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.