namby-pamby

nam·by-pam·by (năm′bē-păm’bē)
adj. 1) Weak, sentimental, or unrealistic: »

"life as it was really lived, you know, not as described in namby-pamby self-help books"

(Megan Hustad). 2) Lacking vigor or decisiveness; weak or spineless: »

accused by conservatives of being a namby-pamby liberal.

n. pl. nam·by-pam·bies One that is weak, sentimental, or indecisive.
[After Namby-Pamby, a satire on the poetry of Ambrose Philips (1674-1749) by Henry Carey (1687?-1743).]
Word History: Today, the 18th-century poet Ambrose Philips is more well-known for sharp satirical attacks leveled against him by his contemporaries Henry Carey and Alexander Pope than for any lines of poetry that he ever wrote himself. In lampooning some overly precious verse on the subject of children that Philips had composed, Carey called Philips by the nickname Namby Pamby: "So the Nurses get by Heart Namby Pamby's Little Rhimes." The first part of Namby Pamby came from Amby, or Ambrose. Pamby was made to rhyme with Namby by using the initial of Philips's surname. Pope then used the name in the 1729 edition of his satirical epic The Dunciad. After being popularized by Pope, namby-pamby went on to be used generally for people or things that are sentimental or weak.

Word Histories. 2014.

Synonyms:

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  • Namby Pamby — is a term for affected, weak, and maudlin speech/verse. However, its origins are in Namby Pamby (1725), by Henry Carey. Carey wrote the poem as a satire of Ambrose Philips and published it in his Poems on Several Occasions. Its first publication… …   Wikipedia

  • namby-pamby — namby pambiness, namby pambyism, n. namby pambyish, adj. /nam bee pam bee/, adj., n., pl. namby pambies for 4. adj. 1. without firm methods or policy; weak or indecisive: namby pamby handling of juvenile offenders. 2. lacking in character,… …   Universalium

  • namby-pamby — [nam′bē pam′bē] adj. [orig. satirical nickname of Ambrose Philips, 18th c. Eng poet: in ridicule of his sentimental pastorals] 1. weakly sentimental; insipid 2. without vigor 3. wishy washy n. 1. namby pamby talk 2. pl. namby pambie …   English World dictionary

  • namby-pamby — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ lacking courage or vigour; feeble. ► NOUN (pl. namby pambies) ▪ a namby pamby person. ORIGIN fanciful formation from the name of Ambrose Philips (1674 1749), an English pastoral poet ridiculed for his insipid verse …   English terms dictionary

  • Namby-pamby — Nam by pam by, a. 1. Affectedly pretty; weakly sentimental; finical; insipid. Thackeray. [1913 Webster] Namby pamby madrigals of love. W. Gifford. [1913 Webster] 2. Indecisive or weak; lacking firmness or resolve; of actions and policies. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • namby-pamby — (adj.) 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.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Namby-pamby — Nam by pam by, n. [From Ambrose Phillips, in ridicule of the extreme simplicity of some of his verses.] Talk or writing which is weakly sentimental or affectedly pretty. Macaulay. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • namby-pamby — [n] pansy baby*, caitiff, chicken*, chicken heart*, chicken liver*, coward, cry baby, fraidy cat*, jellyfish*, lily liver, milksop, momma’s boy*, pantywaist, quitter, scaredy cat*, sissy*, weakling, wimp, wuss*, wussy*, yellow, yellow belly*;… …   New thesaurus

  • namby-pamby — /næmbi ˈpæmbi/ (say nambee pambee) adjective 1. weakly simple or sentimental; insipid. –noun (plural namby pambies) 2. namby pamby verse or prose. 3. a namby pamby person: *the period which had turned him into a wild one had made me something of… …   Australian English dictionary

  • namby-pamby — nam•by pam•by [[t]ˈnæm biˈpæm bi[/t]] adj. n. pl. bies 1) lacking decisiveness; irresolute: namby pamby opinions[/ex] 2) weakly sentimental; insipid: namby pamby poetry[/ex] 3) a namby pamby person or thing • Etymology: 1726; rhyming compound… …   From formal English to slang

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