When we hear the word coddle, we think of spoiling child brats, or something along those prototypical lines. But the word's origins go far beyond that; in Middle English it took the form of caudle, meaning "a hot beverage given to disabled people". It changed bit by bit over time to take the current form, along the basis of assisting someone helpless. Caudle before Middle English was a cross-English Channel mutt used in the general Normandy-southern England area, caudel, from Latin calidium, or "warm drink". The root of this, naturally, is calidus, "warm", from whence derived Spanish caliente. Calidus is from Proto-Italic kaleo, from Proto-Indo-European kele, meaning "warm" as well. The point is that most coddled people are kept warm? Whatever. The word coddle has 3,500,000 results on Google and peaked in usage around 1920.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd