mol·​ly·​cod·​dle | \ ˈmä-lē-ˌkä-dᵊl How to pronounce mollycoddle (audio) \

Definition of mollycoddle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a pampered or effeminate man or boy


mollycoddled; mollycoddling\ ˈmä-​lē-​ˌkäd-​liŋ How to pronounce mollycoddling (audio) , -​ˌkä-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of mollycoddle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to treat with an excessive or absurd degree of indulgence and attention

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Other Words from mollycoddle


mollycoddler \ ˈmä-​lē-​ˌkäd-​lər How to pronounce mollycoddler (audio) , -​ˌkä-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

Examples of mollycoddle in a Sentence

Verb The coach has been mollycoddling the team's star players. refused to mollycoddle her malingering son and sent him off to school
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Frankly, mollycoddle is the word that comes to term. CBS News, "Transcript: Evelyn Farkas talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 5 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb So football generally, and pro football specifically, helped reassure the country that American men were not mollycoddled softies. James Surowiecki, New York Times, "Beautiful. Violent. American. The N.F.L. at 100.," 19 Dec. 2019 Koenig may have supported Bernie Sanders in 2016, but Sanders’s mollycoddling platform never approaches the real-life perplexities that Koenig — a pop poet — sings about. Armond White, National Review, "Vampire Weekend Makes the Best Pop-Political Album of the Year," 10 Dec. 2019 Her poise is the result of a loving yet punctilious upbringing by parents determined that their fame and its accompanying perks were not going to mollycoddle their two children. Michael Callahan, Town & Country, "Show Business Royalty Carys Zeta Douglas Is Ready for Her Close Up," 1 Aug. 2018 Both sides are mollycoddling their own predicaments with this talk. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Pennsylvania election another reminder that winning - and not being close - is what matters," 15 Mar. 2018 This mollycoddled outdated practices, like harvesting by hand. The Economist, "Nearly sweet nothingCaribbean sugar is close to a sticky end," 14 Dec. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of mollycoddle


1849, in the meaning defined above


1865, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mollycoddle


Molly, nickname for Mary

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Time Traveler for mollycoddle

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The first known use of mollycoddle was in 1849

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Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mollycoddle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for mollycoddle



English Language Learners Definition of mollycoddle

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

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mollycoddle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mollycoddle

Spanish Central: Translation of mollycoddle

Nglish: Translation of mollycoddle for Spanish Speakers

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