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Word of the Day
Sunday, April 10, 2016

Definitions for namby-pamby

  1. lacking in character, directness, or moral or emotional strength: namby-pamby writing.
  2. without firm methods or policy; weak or indecisive: namby-pamby handling of juvenile offenders.
  3. weakly sentimental, pretentious, or affected; insipid.

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Citations for namby-pamby
My reason for resigning was disgust with the namby-pamby character of the Magazine--a character which it was impossible to eradicate. I allude to the contemptible pictures, fashion-plates, music, and love-tales. , Edgar Allan Poe to F. W. Thomas, May 25, 1842, Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography, by Arthur Hobson Quinn, 1941
Why, then, are we so namby pamby as to give the motorist a "fair chance" by not allowing police to sit outside pubs and point breathalysers at likely offenders? Roger Lewin, "Dealing with a Drunken Driver," New Scientist and Science Journal, September 30, 1971
Origin of namby-pamby
1726
Namby-pamby was first used by the English writer and musician Henry Carey as the title of a poem satirizing the work of his contemporary, Ambrose Philips, in 1726. The term is play on the name Ambrose.