Mobile Banner


to overprotect someone


mollycoddle = jmdn. verwöhnen bzw. verhätscheln, verzärteln, verpäppeln



“By MOLLYCODDLING our children, we’re fuelling mental illness in teenagers. Of course we want to keep children safe. But exposure to normal stresses and strains is vital for their future wellbeing.”

Jonathan Haidt & Pamela Paresky - The Guardian

Did you


- to give someone too much care or protection

Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary


“Coddle” c. 1600, “to boil gently”, (just below the boiling point) probably from “caudle” a warm drink for invalids (c. 1300), from Anglo-French “caudel”, ultimately from Latin “calidium“ a warm drink of wine and water”.

Mollycoddle is based on the familiar verb coddle ‘to treat tenderly or indulgently’; its original meaning is ‘to cook (eggs) just below the boiling point’, and it is ultimately derived from a Latin word for ‘warm’.


Child psychologists and parents around the world are still struggling with the question of how best to raise children. Do kids need tough-love or should they be mollycoddled?


One expert at a London hospital suggests that at least when it comes to boys, they should be treated as gently as girls in order to become more successful, both socially and professionally.


Others, such as Tony Palmeri, disagree. Palmeri was a barber in Pennsylvania known for his monologues about “today’s spoiled kids,” parts of which were included in a book “Tales from the Barber Shop.” The following is a small sample:

These days, you have to beg kids to eat. I once heard a mother say, “Please eat honey and I’ll give you a dollar.” The kid said, “Two dollars and two comics and we got a deal!”

Yes, the kids of today are spoiled. We either obeyed or got hit. Nowadays, a mother reads her psychology book to find out what to do when little Johnny kicks her in the shins. The book says “This is an expression of Johnny’s free spirit. To stop him would frustrate his freedom. Until he outgrows this stage, mommy should wear shin guards.”


baby, cater to, cocoon, coddle, cosset, do everything for, feather-bed, kill with kindness, make a fuss over, MOLLYCODDLE, nanny, overprotect, pander to, pamper, pet, run around after, spoil (rotten), spoon feed, wait on (hand and foot), wet nurse, wrap in cotton wool

SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“It’s so difficult not to MOLLYCODDLE adorable little creatures who know exactly how to get what they want from grownups.”

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

Paul Smith

More Word Quizzes: