noun mol·ly·cod·dle \ ˈmä-lē-ˌkä-dᵊl \

Definition of mollycoddle

: a pampered or effeminate man or boy

mollycoddle was our Word of the Day on 04/26/2018. Hear the podcast!

Origin and Etymology of mollycoddle

Molly, nickname for Mary




Definition of mollycoddle

mollycoddled; mollycoddling \-ˌkäd-liŋ, -ˌkä-dᵊl-iŋ\
: to treat with an excessive or absurd degree of indulgence and attention


play \-ˌkäd-lər, -ˌkä-dᵊl-ər\ noun

Examples of mollycoddle in a Sentence

  1. The coach has been mollycoddling the team's star players.

  2. refused to mollycoddle her malingering son and sent him off to school

Recent Examples of mollycoddle from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mollycoddle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Coddling eggs is delicate business. You need to cook them slowly and gently, keeping the water just below boiling. Given how carefully you need to treat the eggs, it's not surprising that coddle, the name for the cooking process, developed the figurative sense "to pamper." Mollycoddle was formed by combining coddle with molly, a nickname for Mary. In its earliest known uses in the 1830s, mollycoddle was a noun, a synonym of our modern wimp, but within 30 years it was being used as the verb you're likely to encounter now.

First Known Use of mollycoddle


in the meaning defined above

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Synonym Discussion of mollycoddle

indulge, pamper, humor, spoil, baby, mollycoddle mean to show undue favor to a person's desires and feelings. indulge implies excessive compliance and weakness in gratifying another's or one's own desires.
    • indulged myself with food at the slightest excuse
pamper implies inordinate gratification of desire for luxury and comfort with consequent enervating effect.
    • pampered by the amenities of modern living
humor stresses a yielding to a person's moods or whims.
    • humored him by letting him tell the story
spoil stresses the injurious effects on character by indulging or pampering.
    • foolish parents spoil their children
baby suggests excessive care, attention, or solicitude.
    • babying students by grading too easily
mollycoddle suggests an excessive degree of care and attention to another's health or welfare.
    • refused to mollycoddle her malingering son

MOLLYCODDLE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of mollycoddle for English Language Learners

  • : to treat (someone) with more kindness and attention than is appropriate : to treat (someone) too nicely or gently

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