Slang dictionary



What does spooning mean?

Spooning is a form of cuddling where two people lay on their sides, with one person’s back against the other’s chest. In this position, the two people resemble two spoons nested together in a drawer. It’s sickeningly sweet.

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Where does spooning come from?

In Old English, a spoon was a “splinter” of wood, evolving into the eating utensil in Middle English. Starting in 17th century Wales, spooning involved a love-spoon, an intricately wooden spoon given by a young suitor to a woman. Among other things, it signaled to her and her family that he was a skilled man who was able to provide for her. Fancy! 

This tradition appears to have influenced spooning in the 1800s, which was any type of affectionate or flirtatious behavior displayed between two love interests.

Welsh Lovespoon Centre

Come the 20th century, spooning came to refer to a sexual position where a person has intercourse with a person on their side from the back. For most intimates, though, spooning is more innocuous, a form of chest-to-back cuddling. It’s named for the ways spoons can be stacked and is recorded on a Usenet group by 1994. The so-called big spoon is the person on the outside and the little spoon, the person embraced on the inside. It’s a sweet activity, and it’s not only reserved for humans. Ever spooned your pet and felt utter bliss?

Examples of spooning

Why do guys always want to be the little spoon while spooning 🙄
@AaliyahTrevino, September, 2018
But just because spooning is the most basic cuddle method does not mean it’s the best. The more I reflect on spooning during my sojourn, the more I have come to see it as a terrible idea, one that’s fraught both physically and ideologically. My plea? Suspend spooning—indefinitely.
J. Bryan Lowder, Slate, November, 2015

Who uses spooning?

Spooning, of course, can be used to talk about using a spoon to move or feed something (e.g. I was just spooning the whipped cream onto the cake).

Cuddlers also talk of spooning. It’s commonly discussed in relationship columns and lifestyle publications, whether how to spoon so your arm doesn’t fall asleep or how to spoon so you can snooze all night long.

If you’re feeling frisky, spooning can end in the sexual position of spooning, commonly found on pornographic or adult websites.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of spooning like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of spooning that will help our users expand their word mastery.