[ fon-dl ]
/ ˈfɒn dl /

verb (used with object), fon·dled, fon·dling.

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), fon·dled, fon·dling.

to show fondness, as by manner, words, or caresses.

Origin of fondle

1685–95; fond (v.) (derivative of fond1) + -le
Related formsfon·dler, nounfon·dling·ly, adverbo·ver·fon·dle, verb, o·ver·fon·dled, o·ver·fon·dling.un·fon·dled, adjective
Can be confusedfondling foundling Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for fondle


/ (ˈfɒndəl) /


(tr) to touch or stroke tenderly; caress
(intr) archaic to act in a loving manner
Derived Formsfondler, nounfondlingly, adverb

Word Origin for fondle

C17: from (obsolete) vb fond to fondle; see fond 1
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

Word Origin and History for fondle



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