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Origin uncertain, but probably from a frequentative form of Middle English *cudden, cuththen, keththen (to embrace), a variant of cuthen, kuthen, kithen (to be familiar with, make known), from Middle English cuth, couth (known, familiar), equivalent to couth +‎ -le. Cognate with Middle Dutch kudden (to come together, flock together). More at couth.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkʌd.l̩/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌdəl


cuddle (plural cuddles)

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



cuddle (third-person singular simple present cuddles, present participle cuddling, simple past and past participle cuddled)

  1. (intransitive) To embrace affectionately; to lie together snugly.
    The young lovers cuddled on the couch.
  2. (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?
  3. To lie close or snug; to crouch; to nestle.
    • 1717, Matthew Prior, The Dove:
      She cuddles low behind the brake; / Nor would she stay, nor dares she fly.

Derived terms[edit]


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