Skip to main content

Cuddle Meaning

The universally-applicable, easily-apprehended, objective cuddle meaning can be as hard to nail down as the nature of human desire (so don’t feel silly for asking). If we all had the same precise limits of expectations and boundaries of behaviors in mind when we said to one another “care for a cuddle?”, then we’d likely all get along much much more easily. But because one person’s understanding of the meaning of cuddles can differ so widely from another’s, and because we can’t read one another’s minds, we instead have to rely on talking it through. And talking, while the only road I know of that leads out of conflict, is also so complicated because ‘cuddle’ isn’t the only word we each understand differently… Sounds like a bit of a minefield, doesn’t it? Well, you can relax… it may be a high wire act, but it’s no minefield.

cuddle meaning

Yes, talking can be complicated at times. Which is why, once we’ve negotiated some basic ground rules, cuddling itself is so motherlovin’ satisfying, and if there’s a more perfect consolation for the trouble with words, I’ve never heard of it.

But while cuddles can be a tricky thing to define, even without sex, it is possible to refer to a few general guidelines before diving into deeper waters. Which is to say, dorky intro notwithstanding, we ask about the meaning of cuddle not to split the advanced and esoteric hairs, but to brush our brains with the bunny-soft fur of the basics. Let’s tackle the easy cuddle meanings first – the PhD in cuddle-ology can come later, once you’ve mastered the fundamentals.

Cuddle refers to an affectionate and intimate act of holding someone close, typically in a gentle and loving manner. It involves embracing someone in a way that expresses warmth, comfort, and a sense of security. Cuddling can occur between friends, family members, or romantic partners, and it often involves physical contact such as hugging, holding hands, or lying closely together. The primary purpose of cuddling is to share a sense of closeness and to convey feelings of love, care, or companionship.

Cuddle Definition per the Big Books of Words

If we got to a hoary old authority on the meanings of things, the Cambridge Dictionary defines Cuddle as:

“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:

She cuddled the baby and eventually it stopped crying.
They sat in the back row of the movie theater kissing and cuddling.”

Cambridge Dictionary

While the baby example is along the lines of what I think most of us are thinking these days, ther second example, the one about making out in the back of the theater, I think put the meaning squarely on the one-way track to sex-ville, and I think that these days, cuddling has taken on a more specific meaning that neither precludes nor includes sex. Which means, going back to my introduction, to define cuddle you have to define expectations, which are as subjective as it gets.

cuddle definition
Young couple sitting on the ground in summer. Vintage sunny colors.

How you define cuddle:

Because “cuddle” is fundamentally a relational word, then you can only define it with the person you’re hoping to cuddle with. To cuddle is to co-create an experience of closeness, based on mutual understanding and reciprocal respect. Cuddling is about being with someone else. Anyone trying to cuddle without those things may be proximate, but they won’t be close. They may be near someone else, but they won’t be with them. And their cuddling will be a… wait for it. cuddle dud. (This is a dad joke. If you don’t get it, google cuddle duds. 🙂 (and you’re welcome 🙂