I once saw this American film where two agents were investigating a crime. Unfortunately I can't recall the name of the film, so I'm not able to go back to the source. The two agents did not want to approach a suspect, or they were being very careful about it to ensure that the suspect would open up to them and not withhold information. It might have been a witness, I'm not sure. The two were upset over why they had to be so gentle with this person. They used a specific word for this behavior that I haven't heard before.

It was something along the line "why are we *ing this person"? As to say, why are we taking such measures not to upset this person.

What word could you possibly use in this sense?

4 Answers 4


I haven't seen the film but the word that immediately sprang to mind was

'Why are we mollycoddling this person?'

mollycoddle verb : to treat (someone) with more kindness and attention than is appropriate : to >treat (someone) too nicely or gently


  • 3
    Also coddle..
    – ermanen
    Oct 14, 2014 at 17:51
  • Indulge-give free rein to
    – Misti
    Oct 14, 2014 at 19:09
  • I just had a Eureka moment so to speak. From the deepe archives of my memory, I somehow managed to recollect the word petting. "Why are we petting this person?" Petting a person, like an animal. Would that be appropriate? I certainly think so, assuming the worst about this person. (Innocent until proven guilty, of course. But this was just a work of fiction.) I will sleep on it, and hope to recollect the title of the film. But in a broader, more general sense, I feel that mollycoddle is more appropriate. For that reason, I will accept this answer.
    – Samir
    Oct 14, 2014 at 19:52
  • I've never heard of 'petting' used in this sense. 'Mollycoddle' is very good. You could also say 'Why are we pussyfooting around this person?'
    – Mynamite
    Oct 14, 2014 at 19:54
  • Pussyfooting! Haha! "Why are we pussyfooting this person?" Would that be too inappropriate? In this sense, you could also use tiptoeing. "Why are we tiptoeing around this person?"
    – Samir
    Oct 14, 2014 at 20:13

How about the term "kid-gloving"? Or, as is is more often seen, to "handle with kid gloves".

  • For a long time, I thought "kid gloves" were gloves worn by children. Actually, they're gloves made from young goats, also known as "kids".
    – user3065
    Oct 14, 2014 at 19:54
  • Haha! I like "kid-gloving" very much! That's a creative way of saying "handle with kid gloves". Nice one! I have seen this too in American TV shows. (I listen and read subtitles sometimes to learn a new word or two.)
    – Samir
    Oct 14, 2014 at 20:03

There are quite a few words for this. The most often used words are:

1) Pampering

2) Mollycoding

Both mean the same. Although pampering is usually used in a good context, where as mollycoding in a bad one. Hope this helps.

  • Do you mean "mollycoddling"? I never heard of mollycoding. Oct 14, 2014 at 18:42
  • 3
    @KristinaLopez That's when you treat a fish very nicely ;) Or when someone named Molly writes a computer program.
    – user3065
    Oct 14, 2014 at 19:53
  • It is probably misspell.
    – Samir
    Oct 14, 2014 at 19:54
  • 1
    I would opt for mollycoddling here. I don't like the word pampers; I have a too strong association with Pampers, the brand name for diapers.
    – Samir
    Oct 14, 2014 at 19:59
  • @Samir — On the contrary, pampering is well chosen. Its commercial association with nappies invokes an alternative, but more down-to-earth expression, “arse-wiping”.
    – David
    Jul 19, 2020 at 18:51

Why are we pussyfooting around with this person?

  • This answer could be improved by adding information about why you believe the word "protecting" answers the question.
    – Marthaª
    Oct 15, 2014 at 2:56

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