"to fawn" roughly means : "to do a servile display of affection in order to gain favour"

From that, one can imagine a similar word except that the display of affection comes from a position of power (imperious). (Whether such word implies that the display of affection is to gain favour or not is irrelevant for the purpose of this question.)

e.g. Parents ought not fawn over their children but rather [do imperious display of affection] over them.

Is there a word? Or should we invent it?

  • imperious display of affection is somewhat oxymoronic. I really don't think we need to invent new words in English for this type of context. Often, OPs ask for single words when a phrase would be more appropriate...
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 17:51
  • I think you are assuming affection implies subservience in one way. Let us say it does, the display of affection does not have to be. I guess this concept makes more sense where there is a more explicit rank. e.g. Fans fawn over a renowned actor. Out of love for his fans, the actor graces them with his presence. (thanks to JonLarby, submitter of the accepted answer, for his proposition of the word: grace)
    – io_v
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


I cannot think of a single word for the whole concept you are after, but I think grace comes very close

Bring honour or credit to (someone or something) by one's attendance or participation.

So in your example sentence, I would say:

Parents ought not fawn over their children but rather grace them with their affection.

If I say (unironically) that someone "graced me with their presence", I am to some extent fawning, which therefore implies that gracing is the opposite.

  • Superb finding! So simple and yet... It is sufficient for my purpose. Thank you
    – io_v
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 20:07

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