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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fondling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He wished to run about and make himself ill, to escape the fondling that disgusted him.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • But worse than all, I see you fondling the notion that you are rich.

    The Economist Xenophon
  • You have been feeling and fondling, and you see the natural consequence.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • "Don't ask me," sighed the little man, fondling his red whiskers.

    Frank Merriwell Down South Burt L. Standish
  • She flushed at this, but said never a word, only biting her nether lip and fondling the child.

    John Splendid Neil Munro
  • The girl shrank away and dropped the hand she had been fondling.

    The Wind Before the Dawn Dell H. Munger
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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