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

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 Chapman was on the verge of release after four decades behind bars when he was indicted by a Middlesex grand jury last year for allegedly fondling himself in front of prison staff. Danny Mcdonald,, "Convicted child rapist Wayne Chapman found not guilty of exposing himself to prison staff," 9 Aug. 2019 At a Nantucket bar, the man had been talking with Spacey, who bought him a number of drinks and, according to the accuser, pulled down the man’s zipper and started fondling him. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Kevin Spacey Is Not Vindicated," 18 July 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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Statistics for fondle

Last Updated

10 Oct 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

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to fake an opponent out of position

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