verb (used with object), fondled, fondling.
to handle or touch lovingly, affectionately, or tenderly; caress: to fondle a precious object; to fondle a child.
Obsolete. to treat with fond indulgence.
verb (used without object), fondled, fondling.
to show fondness, as by manner, words, or caresses.

1685–95; fond (v.) (derivative of fond1) + -le

fondler, noun
fondlingly, adverb
overfondle, verb, overfondled, overfondling.
unfondled, adjective

fondling, foundling.

1. cuddle, snuggle, pet, pat, stroke. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fondle (ˈfɒndəl)
1.  (tr) to touch or stroke tenderly; caress
2.  archaic (intr) to act in a loving manner
[C17: from (obsolete) vb fond to fondle; see fond1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1690s, "treat with indulgence and affection," frequentative of fond "dote upon" (see fond). Sense of "caress" first recorded 1796. Related: Fondled; fondling (1670s)
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
There was an identical instruction for the other two counts of fondling.
The former champ picked up a bird and held it firmly in his fists, fondling its feathers.
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