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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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for nuzzle
Historical Examples
  • His interest was elsewhere, and, resisting her hugging, he began to 45 nuzzle her hands for sweets.

    Bred of the Desert Marcus Horton
  • They would push and nuzzle a man along a road, and never upset him.

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

    Space Prison Tom Godwin
  • The frightful head whipped back at the end of the long neck, to nuzzle at the seared spot.

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

  • It would be so nice just to lean back and nuzzle up to her, down in the sand.

    The Hunted Heroes Robert Silverberg
  • Hilda put the baby in Sarah's arms, and he began to nuzzle at her shrunken breasts.

    Plowing On Sunday Sterling North
  • Taggi came to lick his face, nuzzle him, making a small, bewildered whimpering.

    Storm Over Warlock Andre Norton
  • The paper dropped into the ditch and lay still, and the pony began to nuzzle Janice's hand.

    Janice Day Helen Beecher Long
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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