One of my colleagues wrote:

Lord Ganesh is the deity remembered fondly before initiating evry auspicious occasion.

An alarm rang in my mind because I know the word 'fondle'.

To my surprise, it is like this:

fondle (v): to touch and move your hand gently over somebody/something, especially in a sexual way, or in order to show love (OALD)

But, the same dictionary says...

fondly (adv): in a way that shows great affection

Now, when it comes to worship some idol (of course, it has a lot of respect in it), the verb and the adverb's meaning changes drastically.

Question: the adverb fondly is hailing from the verb fondle but it seems the meanings are different. Does fondly include sensuality/sexuality/physical affection *(which should not be the case in worshiping someone)?

  • 1
    I would recommend looking at multiple definitions (or using a consolidator like The Free Dictionary) to get a better sense of a word. You can't spell slaughter without laughter, but that doesn't mean it's funny ;)
    – ColleenV
    Jul 25, 2016 at 22:20

3 Answers 3


You've got it all wrong. Fondly doesn't come from fondle; it comes from fond.


Having an affection or liking for: I’m very fond of Mike he was not too fond of dancing

So, to say something fondly, is to say something affectionately. It's the adverb form of fond. :)

Fondle, on the other hand, is to act upon that affection.

I am fond of breasts.

I like to fondle breasts.

I hold the breasts fondly.

  • OMG this is hilariously right! +1 :)
    – Maulik V
    Jul 25, 2016 at 10:33

The verb fondle originally meant to treat with indulgence and affection: this meaning ties in well with fondly. The meaning caress was first recorded in 1796. Since then, it has acquired a sexual overtone and completely lost the original meaning.


This can be checked in a dictionary.

The words are congnate, but have different meanings modern English.

"Fond" is derived from middle english "fonne" meaning a fool, via a verb "fon" = be foolish. From that meaning it meant "to foolishly love", and so "have strong feelings for" This was the meaning by 1570. The sense of foolishness has almost been lost in modern English, but may be seen in old fashioned expressions "He has fond hopes of..."

The word "fondle" orginally meant to be repeatly or continuously fond of someone. The sense of "caress" is known from 1796, and the negative associations are later. The older word was "grope" which is still used in modern English.

The adjective "fond" or the adverb "fondly" have not picked up the negative or sexual associations of "fondle", and can be used in positive way, and "remember fondly" is an established expression.

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