namby-pamby

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the nickname of the poet Ambrose Phillips, coined by Henry Carey in 1726. [1]

Adjective[edit]

namby-pamby (comparative more namby-pamby or namby-pambier, superlative most namby-pamby or namby-pambiest)

  1. Insipid and sentimental.
  2. Lacking vigor or decisiveness; spineless; wishy-washy.

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

namby-pamby (plural namby-pambies)

  1. One who is insipid, sentimental, or weak.
  2. Talk or writing which is weakly sentimental or affectedly pretty.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Macaulay to this entry?)

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

namby-pamby (third-person singular simple present namby-pambies, present participle namby-pambying, simple past and past participle namby-pambied)

  1. To coddle.
    • 2012, Alan Tyers, Who Moved My Stilton?: The Victorian Guide to Getting Ahead in Business
      While we business men of Britain have little time for this sort of namby-pambying towards the next generation, who are often feckless, tearful, small, dirty or all of the above, there is no doubt that youths have their place in commerce.

References[edit]