namby-pamby

(redirected from namby-pambies)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.

nam·by-pam·by

 (năm′bē-păm′bē)
adj.
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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

namby-pamby

(ˌnæmbɪˈpæmbɪ)
adj
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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.namby-pamby - an insipid weakling who is foolishly sentimental
doormat, weakling, wuss - a person who is physically weak and ineffectual
Adj.1.namby-pamby - weak in willpower, courage or vitality
weak - wanting in physical strength; "a weak pillar"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

namby-pamby

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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002

namby-pamby

adjective
Lacking the qualities requisite for spiritedness and originality:
Informal: wishy-washy.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Translations

namby-pamby

[ˈnæmbɪˈpæmbɪ]
A. ADJsoso, ñoño
B. Npersona f sosa, ñoño/a m/f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005

namby-pamby

(esp Brit inf)
nMutterkind nt; (= boy also)Muttersöhnchen nt
adj personverweichlicht, verzärtelt (inf); (= indecisive)unentschlossen
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007

namby-pamby

[ˌnæmbɪˈpæmbɪ] adj & n (fam) → rammollito/a
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in periodicals archive ?
He said: "We've become so used to mild winters that we really are a nation of namby-pambies when it comes to snow.We don't cope.We forget we live in a country where winters are usually cold.
It does worry me we are creating a nation of namby-pambies.
Terry Venables, who showed the value of TV punditry by transforming Leeds United into a bunch of namby-pambies. And the blessed Glenn Hoddle, whop roved that his coaching ability owes nothing to divine inspiration.