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Probably from caudle. Compare British dialect caddle (to coax, spoil, fondle) and cade.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈkɒdəl/
  • Rhymes: -ɒdəl
    • (file)


coddle (third-person singular simple present coddles, present participle coddling, simple past and past participle coddled)

  1. (transitive) To treat gently or with great care.
    • 1855, William Makepeace Thackeray, The Newcomes, chapter 10 “Ethel and her Relations” (ebook):
      How many of our English princes have been coddled at home by their fond papas and mammas, walled up in inaccessible castles, with a tutor and a library, guarded by cordons of sentinels, sermoners, old aunts, old women from the world without, and have nevertheless escaped from all these guardians, and astonished the world by their extravagance and their frolics?
    • (Can we date this quote by Southey and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      He [Lord Byron] never coddled his reputation.
  2. (transitive) To cook slowly in hot water that is below the boiling point.
  3. (transitive) To exercise excessive or damaging authority in an attempt to protect. To overprotect.


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coddle (plural coddles)

  1. An Irish dish comprising layers of roughly sliced pork sausages and bacon rashers with sliced potatoes and onions.
  2. (archaic) An effeminate person.