- without firm methods or policy; weak or indecisive: namby-pamby handling of juvenile offenders.
- lacking in character, directness, or moral or emotional strength: namby-pamby writing.
- weakly sentimental, pretentious, or affected; insipid.
- a namby-pamby person: written by and for namby-pambies.
- namby-pamby sentiment: the harmless namby-pamby of a birthday card.
- namby-pamby verse or prose.
Origin of namby-pamby
Examples from the Web for namby-pamby
Boring teams, lousy quarterbacks, and namby-pamby rules are making the National Football League unwatchable.Buzz Bissinger on the NFL’s No Good, Very Bad Season
January 2, 2013
Any workman in the school of Namby-Pamby could have kept their purity.My Contemporaries In Fiction
David Christie Murray
She was very beautiful in her soft, foolish, namby-pamby, blue-eyed way.Pussy and Doggy Tales
He witnessed a performance—not too namby-pamby—of Punch and Judy.The Longest Journey
E. M. Forster
Ruth Fielding was not namby-pamby, although she was far from quarrelsome.Ruth Fielding At College
Alice B. Emerson
She was not at all weak or namby-pamby, but she was a universal peace-maker.Frances Kane's Fortune
L. T. Meade
- sentimental or prim in a weak insipid waynamby-pamby manners
- clinging, feeble, or spinelessa namby-pamby child
- a person who is namby-pamby
Word Origin and History for namby-pamby
"weakly sentimental, insipidly pretty," 1745, from satiric nickname of English poet Ambrose Philips (1674-1749) mocking his sentimental pastorals addressed to infant members of the nobility. Used first in 1726 in a farce credited to Carey. Related: Namby-pambical.