How many of you have heard the phrase, ‘namby-pamby?’
It’s a phrase I love although hopefully no-one could ever accuse me of being namby-pamby!
If someone is considered namby-pamby they would lack character, substance or courage, and be insipid, weak, and indecisive.
Here are a few examples of how it may be used for those who might not be familiar with it:
-‘Gerard couldn’t understand how Sheila could dote over any dog, let alone a ‘namby-pamby’ poodle.’
- ‘Stop being so ruddy namby-pamby and tackle your opponent!’
- 'It wasn't a namby-pamby cat fight, but a brutal affair where hair was ripped from her scalp...'
The phrase ‘Namby-Pamby’came from a derisory term given to the English poet and playwright, Ambrose Philips (1674 - 1749) When he became tutor to George I's grandchildren, the raised position and status rather went to his head and he started writing ingratiating, sentimental poems in praise of children, written in affected, insipid nursery language.
His work was derided by rival poets and playwrights, especially Henry Carey and Alexander Pope. They thought his sentimental, singsong verses were too childish and simple. Around 1725, Carey came up with the rhyming nickname 'Namby-Pamby' (playing on "Ambrose") to parody Philips and created a satirical version to imitate the cloying nursery style. Carey was the first to put the poem, Namby Pamby, into print, around 1725:
All ye poets of the age,
All ye witlings of the stage …
Namby-Pamby is your guide,
Albion's joy, Hibernia's pride.
Rhimy-pim'd on Missy Miss
From the navel to the knee;
That her father's gracy grace
Might give him a placy place.
Before long, the term ‘namby-pamby’ began to be used to describe a style of insipidly precious, simple, or sentimental writing and over the years, the connotation widened to more of a general disparagement, and 'namby-pamby' entered the language to refer to anything that was considered weak or indecisive.
Something else you might not know is that 'namby-pamby' was the inspiration for the name of the children's television character, Andy Pandy – a puppet that featured in the Watch With Mother classic series which started on the BBC in the 1950’s. It was one of the first programmes especially for children and I remember loving it when I was a little girl in the late 60’s.
So there you have my ‘N’ word in the A-Z challenge;
‘N’ is for ‘Namby-Pamby
Until another day
Bye for now
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