Definition of namby-pamby in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌnambēˈpambē/


Lacking energy, strength, or courage; feeble or effeminate in behavior or expression: these weren’t namby-pamby fights, but brutal affairs where heads hit the sidewalk
More example sentences
  • In fact he would probably think we were a bunch of namby-pamby liberals for feeding them at all.
  • None of this namby-pamby nonsense about love, happiness or respect from our Dear Leader.
  • The fact that those women are surrounded by a whole bunch of weak, namby-pamby men just makes it worse.
weak, feeble, spineless, effeminate, effete;
informal wimpy, sissy

noun (plural namby-pambies)

A feeble or effeminate person.
Example sentences
  • The first group (the namby-pambies) contrive to let their little darlings come out on top.
  • I wonder what sort of a bunch of namby-pambies there are in this town.
  • I think as a prosecutor everyone thought I was a namby-pamby, and therefore much more defense-oriented and minded.


Mid 18th century: fanciful formation based on the given name of Ambrose Philips (died 1749), an English writer whose pastorals were ridiculed by the writers Henry Carey (1687?–1743) and Alexander Pope (1688–1744).

  • This began as a play on the name of the English writer Ambrose Philips, who died in 1749. His poems were ridiculed as insipid and over-sentimental by writers including the poet and essayist Alexander Pope.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: nam·by-pam·by

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