While it is okay for parents to coddle, spoil, or pamper a young child, it’s a little unnerving when parents coddle, or pamper adult children. And downright weird when adult children wear Pampers.

Coddle is an old word. Originally, it meant to cook gently in water that is near boiling, as in coddling an egg. It most likely gained its association with pampering and taking care of someone via a drink made for invalids that was prepared by coddling. “Mollycoddle,” a synonym for coddle, originally meant a person who coddles himself, or an effeminate man.

Primary Meanings of coddle

cook in nearly boiling water
treat with excessive indulgence
Full Definitions of coddle

v cook in nearly boiling water

coddle eggs”
Type of:
transform and make suitable for consumption by heating

v treat with excessive indulgence

baby, cocker, cosset, featherbed, indulge, mollycoddle, pamper, spoil
Type of:
do by, handle, treat
interact in a certain way

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.