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namby-pamby Line breaks: namby-pamby
Pronunciation: /nambɪˈpambi/

Definition of namby-pamby in English:


Lacking energy, strength, or courage; weak or ineffectual: namby-pamby liberals
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.

noun (plural namby-pambies)

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A weak or ineffectual person: he was a good boy, a namby-pamby, who kept the place assigned to him
More 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 Pope and others.

  • 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.

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