namby-pamby

Definitions

  • An exasperated painter gives up on his painting. He sits under two statues of women. One is titled 'the real' and the other is titled 'the ideal.' He has written 'Namby Pamby' on his painting
    An exasperated painter gives up on his painting. He sits under two statues of women. One is titled 'the real' and the other is titled 'the ideal.' He has written 'Namby Pamby' on his painting
  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj namby-pamby weak in willpower, courage or vitality
    • n namby-pamby an insipid weakling who is foolishly sentimental
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Namby-pamby Affectedly pretty; weakly sentimental; finical; insipid. "Namby-pamby madrigals of love."
    • Namby-pamby Indecisive or weak; lacking firmness or resolve; -- of actions and policies.
    • n Namby-pamby Talk or writing which is weakly sentimental or affectedly pretty.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n namby-pamby Silly verse; weakly sentimental writing or talk.
    • namby-pamby Weakly sentimental; affectedly nice; insipid; vapid: as, namby-pamby rimes.
    • namby-pamby To treat sentimentally; coddle.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Namby-pamby nam′bi-pam′bi silly talking or writing
    • adj Namby-pamby sentimental, affectedly pretty
    • v.t Namby-pamby to coddle
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
From Ambrose Phillips, in ridicule of the extreme simplicity of some of his verses

Usage

In literature:

The idea of a broken heart had always seemed to Winn namby-pamby.
"The Dark Tower" by Phyllis Bottome
Namby-pamby, silly-billy stories, misleading in every line!
"A Black Adonis" by Linn Boyd Porter
Ruth Fielding was not namby-pamby, although she was far from quarrelsome.
"Ruth Fielding At College" by Alice B. Emerson
She was not at all weak or namby-pamby, but she was a universal peace-maker.
"Frances Kane's Fortune" by L. T. Meade
She was sick of such namby-pamby sentimentality; and then they were so untrue to life.
"Our Bessie" by Rosa Nouchette Carey
There are times, of course, when this moralising tendency leads him to the regions of the namby-pamby or sheer prosaic platitude.
"Hours in a Library" by Leslie Stephen
Her uncle would indeed have laughed if that namby-pamby word had escaped her.
"Shirley" by Charlotte Brontë
Nothing but the namby-pamby appealed to me.
"Confessions of a Neurasthenic" by William Taylor Marrs
The incident and the phrase do manifestly tend to the namby-pamby.
"Life of John Keats" by William Michael Rossetti
No namby-pamby young man for me.
"Janice Day" by Helen Beecher Long
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In news:

Getting some namby-pamby, tobacco-stained wretch just won't do.
And not on some namby-pamby scale of a few thousand years, but in geologic terms.
Gerald Cohen, professor of foreign languages at Missouri University of Science and Technology, will give a talk on Friday, April 20, on the 18th century poem "Namby Pamby" as part of the annual Poet Speak evening.
Gerald Cohen, professor of foreign languages at Missouri University of Science and Technology, will give a talk on Friday, April 20, on the 18th century poem "Namby Pamby" as p.
W e're not talking namby-pamby, metrosexual stuff, but the nitty-gritty basics for guys who want to look good and smell great.
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