fon·​dle | \ ˈfän-dᵊl How to pronounce fondle (audio) \
fondled; fondling\ ˈfän-​(d)liŋ How to pronounce fondling (audio) , -​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of fondle

transitive verb

1 : to handle tenderly, lovingly, or lingeringly : caress She fondled the string of pearls.
2a obsolete : pamper
b : to touch (someone or something) sexually … one of them fondled her neck.— Nadine Gordimer Not long ago, the New York Police Department investigated a dentist accused of fondling his patients after putting them under anesthesia.— Donna McCrohan

intransitive verb

: to show affection or desire by caressing

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Other Words from fondle

fondler \ ˈfän-​(d)lər How to pronounce fondler (audio) , -​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for fondle


caress, gentle, love, pat, pet, stroke

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Examples of fondle in a Sentence

She claims that her boss tried to fondle her at the office Christmas party. a cat who enjoys being fondled by his loving owners

Recent Examples on the Web

Derek Achenbach was going through a divorce in January 2017 when a 14-year-old girl accused him of fondling her more than a year before on two occasions. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "Appeals Court rules Arizona judges can refer to 'alleged' victims," 25 May 2018 Authorities say Magaz Negrete kissed and fondled the girl in her bedroom on June 27 in an encounter witnessed by the girl's 16-year-old roommate. Fox News, "Documents: Youth care worker sexually abused immigrant boys," 3 Aug. 2018 Another model, Parker Hurley, wrote an essay for Racked in February accusing Weber of attempting to fondle him. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Photographer Bruce Weber faces more allegations of sexual misconduct from male models," 21 Dec. 2018 Daniels was also accused of fondling the third officer’s buttocks and breasts. Marilyn Icsman,, "Stormy Daniels: Her crazy 48 hours in Ohio," 13 July 2018 Couple of creeps at Cumberland Mall and Kohl’s A Smyrna man at Cumberland Mall and a Marietta man at Kohl’s on East West Connector are both separately accused of fondling themselves on May 25. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Crimes of Cobb: Two dogs left inside 120-degree trailer without water," 6 June 2018 During their first meeting, Nassar fondled her breasts while a cameraman filmed, Davis said in the suit. Jessica Taylor Price, Teen Vogue, "New Lawsuit Alleges Larry Nassar Raped a Student Athlete in 1992," 12 Sep. 2018 The university in April announced that independent investigators were looking into allegations that Strauss fondled and groped male athletes during physical examinations and medical treatment. Kantele Franko, The Seattle Times, "Lawsuit, ex-student focus on complaints about Ohio State doc," 17 July 2018 About half a dozen former Ohio State wrestlers say Jordan had to have known young men were complaining about being fondled by the team doctor in the 1990s, when Jordan was an assistant coach. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Jim Jordan’s allies are questioning the premise of the Ohio State sexual abuse allegations," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fondle.' 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 fondle

1721, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for fondle

frequentative of obsolete fond to fondle

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Statistics for fondle

Last Updated

25 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fondle

The first known use of fondle was in 1721

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More Definitions for fondle



English Language Learners Definition of fondle

: to touch or handle (something) in a gentle way
: to touch (someone) in a sexual way


fon·​dle | \ ˈfän-dᵊl How to pronounce fondle (audio) \
fondled; fondling

Kids Definition of fondle

: to touch or handle in a tender or loving manner

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More from Merriam-Webster on fondle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fondle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fondle

Spanish Central: Translation of fondle

Nglish: Translation of fondle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fondle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on fondle

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


one that collects or salvages junk

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