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[fon-dl] /ˈfɒn dl/
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.
Origin of fondle
1685-95; fond (v.) (derivative of fond1) + -le
Related forms
fondler, noun
fondlingly, adverb
overfondle, verb, overfondled, overfondling.
unfondled, adjective
Can be confused
fondling, foundling.
1. cuddle, snuggle, pet, pat, stroke. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fondling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So I sat down, and, fondling my sovereign in my pocket, fell into a dream.

    Prose Fancies Richard Le Gallienne
  • He wished to run about and make himself ill, to escape the fondling that disgusted him.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • fondling her father, she tried to coax him to eat the supper prepared for him.

  • "Don't ask me," sighed the little man, fondling his red whiskers.

    Frank Merriwell Down South Burt L. Standish
  • fondling the trembling creature against her cheek, she talked first to him, then to his abashed persecutors.

    Maida's Little Shop Inez Haynes Irwin
  • She flushed at this, but said never a word, only biting her nether lip and fondling the child.

    John Splendid Neil Munro
British Dictionary definitions for fondling


(transitive) to touch or stroke tenderly; caress
(intransitive) (archaic) to act in a loving manner
Derived Forms
fondler, noun
fondlingly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from (obsolete) vb fond to fondle; see fond1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fondling



1690s, "treat with indulgence and affection," frequentative of fond "dote upon" (see fond). Sense of "caress" first recorded 1796. Related: Fondled; fondling (1670s as a past participle adjective).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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