[nuhz-uh l]
verb (used without object), nuz·zled, nuz·zling.
  1. to burrow or root with the nose, snout, etc., as an animal does: a rabbit nuzzling into the snow.
  2. to thrust the nose, muzzle, etc.: The dog nuzzled up to his master.
  3. to lie very close to someone or something; cuddle or snuggle up.
verb (used with object), nuz·zled, nuz·zling.
  1. to root up with the nose, snout, etc.: training pigs to nuzzle truffles from the ground.
  2. to touch or rub with the nose, snout, muzzle, etc.
  3. to thrust the nose, muzzle, snout, etc., against or into: The horse was nuzzling my pocket for sugar.
  4. to thrust (the nose or head), as into something.
  5. to lie very close to; cuddle or snuggle up to.
  1. an affectionate embrace or cuddle.

Origin of nuzzle

1375–1425; late Middle English noselen to grovel; origin uncertain
Related formsun·nuz·zled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for nuzzles

caress, fondle, nudge, pet, bundle, nestle, burrow, snuggle, snug

Examples from the Web for nuzzles

Historical Examples of nuzzles

  • Saxon gobbles us with kisses, and nuzzles his nose, and we put our arms round his tawny neck.

    Last Words

    Juliana Horatia Ewing

  • Apeman was still moaning, though less fitfully, like a child that nuzzles the milk bottle, but is drifting away into sleep.

British Dictionary definitions for nuzzles


  1. to push or rub gently against the nose or snout
  2. (intr) to nestle; lie close
  3. (tr) to dig out with the snout

Word Origin for nuzzle

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

Word Origin and History for nuzzles



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