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Cuddle vs. Snuggle: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 2, 2023
Cuddle implies holding close for warmth or comfort, while snuggle suggests nestling or burrowing for coziness.

Key Differences

Cuddle and snuggle, while largely synonymous, do possess subtle nuances; cuddle often portrays a slightly more protective or nurturing embrace, while snuggle may convey a seeking of comfort, possibly a more mutual or reciprocal action.
In the domain of cuddling, the imagery evoked might lean towards a gentle holding or enveloping, often with a connotation of providing comfort or assurance, whereas a snuggle often brings forth images of drawing oneself close to another entity, often for warmth or a shared closeness.
A cuddle often can have a nurturing or safeguarding undertone, perhaps seen in a parent cuddling a child, radiating a sense of providing shelter or security; in contrast, a snuggle often might be pictured as two entities seeking mutual warmth or affection, such as two lovers.
Notably, to cuddle can often stand as a more generalized term and might be used in a range of contexts from casual to intimate; however, to snuggle might be often viewed as intimate, cozy, and possibly more reciprocal, involving a shared exchange of warmth and affection.
It’s essential to recognize that while these differences do exist, in many contexts, especially colloquially, cuddle and snuggle might be used interchangeably, owing to their close semantic proximity and the shared essence of close physical contact they both denote.

Comparison Chart


Nurturing, protective
Cozy, mutual

Typical Use

General, can range from casual to intimate
More often intimate or cozy

Implied Interaction

May imply a caretaker and receiver dynamic
Suggests reciprocal or shared closeness

Emotional Undertone

Can suggest comfort or solace
Might imply seeking shared warmth

Common Imagery

Enveloping or holding close
Nestling or burrowing into

Cuddle and Snuggle Definitions


To hold someone close to provide comfort.
After the nightmare, she wanted a cuddle from her mother.


A mutual, warm, and cozy physical closeness.
As the fireplace flickered, they enjoyed a sweet snuggle.


Physical closeness typically providing warmth or comfort.
The cold weather made them cuddle under the blanket.


Moving into a cozy and close position.
She decided to snuggle into the soft, warm blankets.


A gentle and comforting physical embrace.
After the scary movie, a reassuring cuddle was needed.


To lie or press closely, often intimately.
The couple would snuggle under the starry night sky.


An embrace often to convey affection or solace.
The small puppy sought a cuddle from its owner.


To nestle close, especially for warmth or affection.
The kittens began to snuggle against their mother.


Holding someone close, often in a protective manner.
He gave her a cuddle to shield her from the chilly wind.


Seeking closeness typically for shared comfort.
During the movie, they chose to snuggle on the couch.


To hold fondly in the arms; hug tenderly.


To lie or press close together; cuddle.


To nestle; snuggle
The children cuddled together on the couch.


To curl up closely or comfortably; nestle
Snuggled happily under the covers.


The act of cuddling; a hug or embrace.


To draw close or hold closely, as for comfort or in affection; hug.


A snuggle; an affectionate embrace, often given to family members and close friends.
Give me a cuddle, Paul, it'll cheer you up.


An affectionate hug.
Let's have a snuggle on the sofa.


(intransitive) To embrace affectionately; to lie together snugly.
The young lovers cuddled on the couch.


The final remnant left in a liquor bottle.


(transitive) To cradle in one's arms so as to give comfort, warmth.
She cuddled the infant before bedtime.
I'm cold; can you roll over here and cuddle me, honey?


To lie close to another person or thing, hugging or being cosy.
Sometimes my girlfriend and I snuggle.
The surrounding buildings snuggled each other.
The last drop of jager snuggled the corner of the pint.


To lie close or snug; to crouch; to nestle.


To move or arrange oneself in a comfortable and cosy position.
Tired but satisfied, the children snuggled into their sleeping bags.
The pet dog snuggles into its new bed.


To lie close or snug; to crouch; to nestle.
She cuddles low beneath the brake;Nor would she stay, nor dares she fly.


To move one way and the other so as to get a close place; to lie close for comfort; to cuddle; to nestle.


To embrace closely; to fondle.


A close and affectionate (and often prolonged) embrace


A close embrace.


Move or arrange oneself in a comfortable and cozy position;
We cuddled against each other to keep warm
The children snuggled into their sleeping bags


A close and affectionate (and often prolonged) embrace


Position comfortably;
The baby nestled her head in her mother's elbow


Move or arrange oneself in a comfortable and cozy position;
We cuddled against each other to keep warm
The children snuggled into their sleeping bags


Hold (a person or thing) close, as for affection, comfort, or warmth;
I cuddled the baby


What does "cuddle" mean?

"Cuddle" means to hold someone close in an affectionate manner.

Can "cuddle" be used as a noun?

Yes, "cuddle" can be a noun, referring to an act of cuddling.

What is the origin of "cuddle"?

"Cuddle" originates from the early 16th century, possibly of Germanic origin.

Is "cuddle" a formal or informal term?

It is considered an informal term.

Can "cuddle" be used in various contexts?

Yes, it can describe physical closeness between friends, family, couples, or even with pets.

What are synonyms for "cuddle"?

Hug, embrace, and snuggle are synonyms.

Can "snuggle" indicate physical positioning?

Yes, it can refer to nestling or positioning oneself cozily.

Does "snuggle" convey a sense of safety or comfort?

Typically, yes. It often implies a sense of warmth, comfort, and/or security.

What's an example of "cuddle" in a sentence?

"They sat on the sofa to cuddle and watch a movie."

Does "cuddle" imply a level of emotional comfort?

Yes, it typically implies affection, warmth, and comfort.

Is "cuddle" used in any idioms or expressions?

There aren't many idioms, but "cuddle up" is a phrasal verb related to it.

What are synonyms for "snuggle"?

Nestle, cuddle, and cozy up are synonyms.

What’s the origin of "snuggle"?

It's believed to be of Low German origin, originating in the late 16th to early 17th century.

What does "snuggle" mean?

"Snuggle" means to settle oneself comfortably and cozily, often involving close contact with another person or a soft item.

What differentiates "snuggle" from similar words?

"Snuggle" often implies a cozy, comforting aspect and may not always involve as close contact as cuddle.

How can "snuggle" be used in various contexts?

It can be used romantically, comfortingly, or even casually, like snuggling in a warm blanket.

Is "cuddle" a transitive or intransitive verb?

It can be both, e.g., "She cuddled the baby" (transitive) or "They cuddled together" (intransitive).

Is "snuggle" a verb or a noun?

"Snuggle" can be used as both a verb and a noun.

What is an example of "snuggle" in a sentence?

"The puppy found a spot to snuggle beside her."

Can "snuggle" refer to non-human entities?

Yes, animals can snuggle, and one can snuggle with objects like blankets.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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