namby-pamby

namby-pamby

[nam-bee-pam-bee]
adjective
1.
without firm methods or policy; weak or indecisive: namby-pamby handling of juvenile offenders.
2.
lacking in character, directness, or moral or emotional strength: namby-pamby writing.
3.
weakly sentimental, pretentious, or affected; insipid.
noun, plural namby-pambies for 4.
4.
a namby-pamby person: written by and for namby-pambies.
5.
namby-pamby sentiment: the harmless namby-pamby of a birthday card.
6.
namby-pamby verse or prose.

Origin:
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

namby-pambiness, namby-pambyism, noun
namby-pambyish, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
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 , -bies
3.  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 & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

namby-pamby
1726, satiric nickname of Eng. poet Ambrose Philips (1674-1749) mocking his sentimental pastorals addressed to infant members of the nobility. Used first in a farce credited to Carey; in general sense of "weakly sentimental, insipidly pretty" it is attested from 1745.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Synonyms
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