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

noun, plural nam·by-pam·bies for 4.

  1. a namby-pamby person: written by and for namby-pambies.
  2. namby-pamby sentiment: the harmless namby-pamby of a birthday card.
  3. namby-pamby verse or prose.


  1. sentimental or prim in a weak insipid waynamby-pamby manners
  2. clinging, feeble, or spinelessa namby-pamby child

noun plural -bies

  1. a person who is 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. Related: Namby-pambical.

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