namby-pamby(redirected from namby-pambies)
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1. Weak, sentimental, or unrealistic: "life as it was really lived, you know, not as described in namby-pamby self-help books" (Megan Hustad).
2. Lacking vigor or decisiveness; weak or spineless: accused by conservatives of being a namby-pamby liberal.
n. pl. nam·by-pam·bies
One that is weak, sentimental, or indecisive.
[After Namby-Pamby, , a satire on the poetry of Ambrose Philips (1674-1749) by Henry Carey (1687?-1743).]
Word History: Today, the 18th-century poet Ambrose Philips is more well-known for sharp satirical attacks leveled against him by his contemporaries Henry Carey and Alexander Pope than for any lines of poetry that he ever wrote himself. In lampooning some overly precious verse on the subject of children that Philips had composed, Carey called Philips by the nickname Namby Pamby: "So the Nurses get by Heart Namby Pamby's Little Rhimes." The first part of Namby Pamby came from Amby, or Ambrose. Pamby was made to rhyme with Namby by using the initial of Philips's surname. Pope then used the name in the 1729 edition of his satirical epic The Dunciad. After being popularized by Pope, namby-pamby went on to be used generally for people or things that are sentimental or weak.
1. sentimental or prim in a weak insipid way: namby-pamby manners.
2. clinging, feeble, or spineless: a namby-pamby child.
n, pl -bies
a person who is namby-pamby
[C18: a nickname of Ambrose Phillips (died 1749), whose pastoral verse was ridiculed for being insipid]
nam•by-pam•by(ˈnæm biˈpæm bi)
adj., n., pl. -bies. adj.
1. lacking decisiveness; irresolute: namby-pamby opinions.
2. weakly sentimental; insipid: namby-pamby poetry.n.
3. a namby-pamby person or thing.
[1726; rhyming compound based on the first syllable of Ambrose Philips; first used as a nickname for Philips in the title of a poem by Henry Carey (1687?–1743) ridiculing his verse]
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|Noun||1.||namby-pamby - an insipid weakling who is foolishly sentimental|
|Adj.||1.||namby-pamby - weak in willpower, courage or vitality|
weak - wanting in physical strength; "a weak pillar"
adjective feeble, weak, wet, sentimental, mincing, ineffectual, prim, weedy (informal), colourless, effeminate, anaemic, insipid, simpering, spineless, effete, prissy (informal), wishy-washy (informal), vapid, mawkish, wussy (slang), wimpish or wimpy (informal) I despise his wimpy, namby-pamby attitude.