What It Means
: to treat with an excessive or absurd degree of indulgence or attention
mollycoddle in Context
The newborn cub at the wildlife park is enjoying being mollycoddled by its mother.
"You work longer hours than most of your friends, you never know where your next paycheck is coming from and there's no HR team to mollycoddle you when times get tough… it's safe to say that the life of a self-employed worker is one plagued by instabilities." — Olivia Petter, The Independent (London), 16 Mar. 2018
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 1840s, mollycoddle was a noun, a synonym of our modern wimp, but in short time, it was being used as the verb you're likely to encounter now.
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to complete a verb that can mean "to pamper" or "to move (as a baby) up and down in one's arms or on one's knee in affectionate play": da _ _ le.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP