Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Insipid and sentimental.
  • adj. Lacking vigor or decisiveness; spineless.
  • n. One that is insipid, sentimental, or weak.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Insipid and sentimental
  • adj. Lacking vigor or decisiveness; spineless; wishy-washy
  • n. One that is insipid, sentimental, or weak.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Talk or writing which is weakly sentimental or affectedly pretty.
  • adj. Affectedly pretty; weakly sentimental; finical; insipid.
  • adj. Indecisive or weak; lacking firmness or resolve; -- of actions and policies.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Silly verse; weakly sentimental writing or talk.
  • Weakly sentimental; affectedly nice; insipid; vapid: as, namby-pamby rimes.
  • To treat sentimentally; coddle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. weak in willpower, courage or vitality
  • n. an insipid weakling who is foolishly sentimental

Etymologies

After Namby-Pamby, a satire on the poetry of Ambrose Philips (1674-1749) by Henry Carey (1687?-1743).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

Comments

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  • Vexamples suggest it's a favoured epithet in fascist diatribe.

    November 26, 2009

  • Origin: 1726; rhyming compound based on the first syll. of Ambrose Philips; first used as a nickname for Philips in the title of a poem by Henry Carey (1687?–1743) ridiculing his verse

    October 26, 2007