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

Synonyms for fondle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fondling

Contemporary Examples of fondling

Historical Examples of fondling

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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



(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 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