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


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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 During a private lesson in 2000, the preteen girl froze as her teacher slipped his hand down the front of her outfit and began fondling her, Contra Costa County prosecutor Kate Jewett told jurors Friday in opening statements at Kabaniaev’s trial. Matthias Gafni,, "‘Toxic secret’: Trial opens for renowned ballet teacher accused of raping, molesting East Bay students," 4 Oct. 2019 Some shoppers swear by online shopping; others prefer to fondle merch in real-time. Catherine Bigelow,, "Recoding retail: Women bring digital savvy to art, pop-ups and fashion," 16 July 2019 The film had the intimate, off-hand look of a home movie: Keith Richards was captured removing a television set from his hotel room and tossing it over the balcony and a groupie was seen lying naked on a bed, fondling herself. Hillel Italie, Twin Cities, "Groundbreaking photographer Robert Frank dies at age 94," 10 Sep. 2019 The women say they were groped, fondled or inappropriately touched by massage therapists during sessions dating between 2014 and 2016. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Massage Envy, including Encinitas site, sued by clients alleging sexual misconduct," 19 July 2019 Marie’s habit of fondling a little glowing green bottle in bed is especially upsetting. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Radioactive': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 6 Sep. 2019 Now another 30 men from 12 sports and a non-athlete have come forward stating that Strauss allegedly fondled them at the student health center. Stephen Means,, "The Pac-12 to consider earlier kickoff times this season: Buckeye Breakfast," 26 July 2019 Perez-Giron fondled the girl and tried to pull her pants down, according to police. Dan Morse, Washington Post, "Two Maryland men indicted in alleged rape of 11-year-old girl," 22 Aug. 2019 The woman, then 21, also said Andrew fondled her breast and made advances on her and Giuffre at a party at Epstein’s New York mansion mansion. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Prince Andrew’s troubles continue; London police rejected ‘full investigation’ of sex allegations," 19 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for fondle

Time Traveler

The first known use of fondle was in 1721

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Statistics for fondle

Last Updated

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Fondle.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for fondle


How to pronounce fondle (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fondle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fondle

Spanish Central: Translation of fondle

Nglish: Translation of fondle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fondle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on fondle

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