'Cuddle' vs 'Snuggle': What's the Difference?

By Katie Moore, updated on September 4, 2023

‘Cuddle’ vs ‘Snuggle’: What’s the difference? While writing, we occasionally encounter words that appear interchangeable but actually have their own more specific meanings. Let’s explore how we can tell those types of words apart, starting with ‘Cuddle’ vs ‘Snuggle.’

In a hurry? Here’s a quick preview of what’s to come:

  • ‘Cuddle’ is a word that refers to holding someone close
  • ‘Snuggle’ is a word that describes settling into a position

What’s the Difference Between ‘Cuddle’ vs ‘Snuggle’?

If we use these words interchangeably so often, is there a point in learning the difference? Well, for precision’s sake, the answer is yes. Being able to tell apart synonyms like ‘Cuddle’ vs ‘Snuggle’ is a great way to expand your vocabulary and keep your writing as specific as possible. 

So what is the difference? The most precise distinction is the number of people involved. 

  • ‘Cuddle’ is a more affectionate word, and typically is an action requiring two or more people. 
  • Meanwhile, ‘Snuggle’ is an action typically done alone, or with an object such as a blanket. 

Both actions have warm and fuzzy connotations, but the context is not always the same. And, to be able to distinguish which word is which, we can use their spellings to give us clues. 

  • ‘Cuddle’ starts with a “c,” just like the word ‘couple,’ which serves as a reminder that cuddling involves two people. 
  • ‘Snuggle,’ on the other hand, starts with an “s,” just like the word ‘solo,’ meaning alone. This reminds us that snuggling is usually a single-person activity. 

While these tricks help get us started, they don’t paint a full picture. Let’s take a closer look individually at ‘Cuddle’ vs ‘Snuggle’.

Definition of ‘Cuddle’: What Does it Mean?

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Cuddle’ is a verb that means: 

  • Hold close in one’s arms as a way of showing love or affection
    • “He cuddles the baby close.”
  • Lie or sit close and snug
    • “They cuddled together to keep out the cold.”
  • To put your arms around someone and hold them in a loving way, or (of two people) to hold each other close to show love or for comfort 

As a noun, ‘Cuddle’ can also mean: 

  • A prolonged and affectionate hug
    • “He just wanted a comforting kiss and a cuddle.”

Synonyms of ‘Cuddle’

  • Hold close
  • Caress
  • Curl up
  • Embrace
  • Hug
  • Spoon
  • Bear hug
  • Enfold

Antonyms of ‘Cuddle’

  • Let go
  • Release
  • Push away
  • Shove
  • Reject
  • Separate

Phrases with ‘Cuddle’

  • Kiss and cuddle
  • Cuddle up
  • Be a cuddler
  • Cuddle close

Definition of ‘Snuggle’: What Does it Mean?

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Snuggle’ is a verb that means: 

  • Settle or move into a warm, more comfortable position
    • “I snuggled down in my sleeping bag.”
  • To move into a warm position, especially one in which the body is covered by something
  • To curl up comfortably or cozily
    • “The dog snuggles in its bed.”

Synonyms of ‘Snuggle’

  • Nestle
  • Curl up
  • Huddle
  • Nuzzle
  • Settle
  • Bundle
  • Burrow

Antonyms of ‘Snuggle’

  • Let go
  • Release
  • Stay away
  • Freeze
  • Discomfort 

Phrases with ‘Snuggle’

  • Snuggle up
  • Warm and snuggly
  • Snuggle close
  • Snuggle between 

Pronunciations: How to Pronounce ‘Cuddle’ vs ‘Snuggle’

Given that we don’t just use words when writing, it’s important to be able to say them aloud correctly as well. The hints below will help you make sure you feel confident pronouncing ‘Cuddle’ vs ‘Snuggle’ so you’re prepared to use them in conversation. 

Use this phonetic spelling of ‘Cuddle’ as a guide:

  • ‘Kuh-dd-l’ (the first letter is hard like a ‘k,’ and the “u” is low as in the word “sun”)

Use this phonetic spelling of ‘Snuggle’ as a guide: 

  • ‘Snuh-gg-l’ (note that the “e” on the end is silent, and the “g” flows seamlessly to the voiced “l” sound)

How to Use ‘Cuddle’ vs ‘Snuggle’ In a Sentence

The final component to mastering new words is being able to use them beyond just repeating definitions. Understanding context clues will be especially important here since ‘Cuddle’ vs ‘Snuggle’ are synonyms that still have their own individual meanings. Use the hints from above to identify how the contexts are different. 

‘Cuddle’ Example Sentences

  • When the twins were born, they slept in the same bed and would often cuddle up during the night. 
  • When she got invited over to “watch Netflix and chill” she expected them to just cuddle during a movie so she was surprised when he leaned in to kiss her.
  • She cuddled the child in her arms, rocking him softly until he fell into a deep sleep.
  • He pulled his friend in for a cuddle to say goodbye, knowing they wouldn’t see each other for a few months. 

‘Snuggle’ Example Sentences

  • Despite snuggling into many layers of blankets, he still couldn’t get warm. 
  • The kids snuggled into their beds and got comfortable as their grandfather prepared to read them a bedtime story. 
  • The puppy had snuggled into a ball by the fireplace and had since dozed off. 
  • While his friends complained about the heat, he was ready to snuggle further into the couch. 

‘Cuddle’ vs ‘Snuggle’ Example Sentences

  • The cousins had set up a pallet on the floor and had snuggled under their blankets and cuddled together to spill secrets. 
  • The dog snuggled into its owner's sleeping bag, eager to cuddle up and get away from the cold tarp floor of the tent. 

Final Advice on ‘Cuddle’ vs ‘Snuggle’

Learning about synonyms is great for focusing on small differences and is a perfect opportunity to practice being precise with language. Remember that we can look beyond definitions to find ways to tell words apart, and sometimes little spelling tricks are the perfect memory tool. 

Need a review? Here’s a quick recap of what we covered: 

  • ‘Cuddle’ is a verb that means to hold someone closely and affectionately, and is typically done with more than one person.
  • Meanwhile, ‘Snuggle’ is a verb that describes getting warm and comfortable, which is usually a solo activity that involves a blanket. 

Want to learn more about synonyms and how to tell them apart? Be sure to check out other confusing word articles that will give you more advice on how to find the small distinctions between words and use them to make your writing stronger.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Katie Moore
Katie is a recent graduate of Occidental College where she worked as a writer and editor for the school paper while studying linguistics and journalism. She loves helping others find their voice in writing and making their work the strongest it can be. Katie also loves learning and speaking other languages and wants to help make writing accessible for everyone.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.