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[nuhz-uh l] /ˈnʌz əl/
verb (used without object), nuzzled, nuzzling.
to burrow or root with the nose, snout, etc., as an animal does:
a rabbit nuzzling into the snow.
to thrust the nose, muzzle, etc.:
The dog nuzzled up to his master.
to lie very close to someone or something; cuddle or snuggle up.
verb (used with object), nuzzled, nuzzling.
to root up with the nose, snout, etc.:
training pigs to nuzzle truffles from the ground.
to touch or rub with the nose, snout, muzzle, etc.
to thrust the nose, muzzle, snout, etc., against or into:
The horse was nuzzling my pocket for sugar.
to thrust (the nose or head), as into something.
to lie very close to; cuddle or snuggle up to.
an affectionate embrace or cuddle.
Origin of nuzzle
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English noselen to grovel; origin uncertain
Related forms
unnuzzled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nuzzle
Historical Examples
  • It would be so nice just to lean back and nuzzle up to her, down in the sand.

    The Hunted Heroes Robert Silverberg
  • They would push and nuzzle a man along a road, and never upset him.

    Jan A. J. Dawson
  • They stirred, making tiny whimpering sounds and trying to move their heads to nuzzle at her fingers.

    Space Prison Tom Godwin
  • And when he slept at night something came to nuzzle at his mind; faceless, formless, utterly alien.

  • All of a sudden Don began to tremble with eagerness and nuzzle and sniff among the roots of the grass.

    IT and Other Stories Gouverneur Morris
  • Hilda put the baby in Sarah's arms, and he began to nuzzle at her shrunken breasts.

    Plowing On Sunday Sterling North
  • The paper dropped into the ditch and lay still, and the pony began to nuzzle Janice's hand.

    Janice Day Helen Beecher Long
  • The frightful head whipped back at the end of the long neck, to nuzzle at the seared spot.

  • Taggi came to lick his face, nuzzle him, making a small, bewildered whimpering.

    Storm Over Warlock Andre Norton
  • She goes miles away by the sea-side and walks into the water, like a Christian, to nuzzle up crabs among the rocks.

British Dictionary definitions for nuzzle


to push or rub gently against the nose or snout
(intransitive) to nestle; lie close
(transitive) to dig out with the snout
Word Origin
C15: nosele, from nose (n)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nuzzle

early 15c., "to bring the nose to the ground," back-formation from noselyng "on the nose, prostrate," frequentative of nose (v.); meaning "burrow with the nose" is first attested 1520s; that of "lie snug" is from 1590s, influenced by nestle, or by nursle, frequentative of nurse. Related: Nuzzled; nuzzling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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