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Coddle and mollycoddle

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  • Coddle and mollycoddle are two words that are sometimes interchangeable, though they also have secondary, unique definitions. We will examine the meanings of the words coddle and mollycoddle, where they came from, and some examples of their use in sentences.


     

    Coddle means to indulge someone, to pamper someone or overprotect him, to treat him as if he were a delicate flower. Coddle may also mean to cook an egg in hot water that is below the boiling point, rendering a type of soft-boiled egg. Coddle is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are coddles, coddled, coddling. The word coddle is derived from the Latin word caldum which means hot drink.

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    Mollycoddle may also mean to indulge someone, to pamper someone or overprotect him, to treat him as if he were a delicate flower. This meaning of coddle and mollycoddle is probably based on the idea of how carefully and gently one must cook a coddled egg. Related words are mollycoddles, mollycoddled, mollycoddling. Mollycoddle may also be used to mean an effeminate man or a wimp, though that usage has largely gone by the wayside. The word mollycoddle is a combination of coddle and Molly, a nickname for Mary and sometimes used in the early 1800s to denote an effeminate man.

    Examples

    A teacher in the US has announced she has quit her career and blames parents who “coddle and enable” their children. (The New Zealand Herald)

    I concurred and call for a coddled egg (a gently and barely cooked one) instead of a raw egg in this recipe. (The Newburyport Daily News)

    “We’ve tried to rest them at times, or mollycoddle them a little bit, but we play at an intensity and I don’t think we are good enough to turn it on and off like a tap.” (The Evening Times)

    It is often said that central banks, notably the Fed, mollycoddle markets by delaying interest-rate rises while they are unsettled. (The Economist)


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