Cozy Words For A Cold Day


Like a cup of hot cocoa topped with melty marshmallows, some words have the power to make us feel comfy on cold winter days. Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is the epitome of these types of cozy words. A Danish word that’s been added to English dictionaries, it perfectly describes that feeling of comfortable conviviality that spews contentment and well-being.

WATCH: Snowflake: From Winter Wonderland to Petty Insult


The Danish people say hygge is fundamental to their culture and that it includes many pleasures they associate with everyday living, including relaxing with friends, enjoying good food, and lighting candles. Hygge comes from the sixteenth-century Norwegian term hugga, meaning “to comfort or console,” which is actually related to the English word hug, and it can be used as a noun, adjective, or verb. While hygge can’t be translated into other languages using a single word, the feeling behind the word makes us warm inside.


The German word, gemütlichkeit (pronounced guy-moot-lish KYT) comes close to hygge. It’s used to convey a state or feeling of coziness, contentedness, comfort, and relaxation. Ah. The adjective, gemütlich means cozy and comfortable, and the addition of keit makes it a noun and adds that feeling of comfort and coziness.

Constanze, a blogger for a German language website writes: “A soft chair in a coffee shop might be considered ‘cosy.’ But sit in that chair surrounded by close friends and a hot cup of tea, while soft music plays in the background, and that sort of scene is what you’d call gemütlich.”


When it’s cold out, your feet feel like ice cubes and your toes like little tiny icicles, right? It’s so hard to warm them up. Even those furry boots you bought can’t quite do the trick. But, once inside, you plop down in front of the fireplace and warm your feet and toes in front of it, and now you’re feeling toasty. Meaning “comfortably or cozily warm,” this is a word and a feeling you can’t do without in the cold seasons.

And, yes, toasty comes from the word toast, or “a piece of bread browned by a fire.” Ha! Don’t we all just want to be browned by the fireplace now instead of sitting in our cold cubicles.

Pro tip: If you sip too much wine by that fireplace you may feel toasted—slang for tipsy but not drunk.


We might nestle against someone for warmth and comfort, nestle a baby in our arms, or, as Clement Moore wrote in A Visit from St. Nicholas, we might “nestle all snug in [our] beds.”

The verb nestle comes from the Old English nestlian, meaning “to build a nest.” And, eventually that evolved to mean “to lie close and snug, like a bird in a nest; snuggle or cuddle.” Aw.

And, who doesn’t like to nestle under the blankets with a mug of hot chocolate? Well, Nestlé, the Swiss food and drink company known for its hot cocoa, took its name from one of the founders, Henri Nestlé . . . not the word nestle oddly enough.


A cuddle not only warms you up physically, but also damn near melts your heart when a loved one sidles up and wraps their arms around you.

A synonym of nestlecuddle may come from the Middle English word cudden, meaning “to embrace.”

Fun fact: Some say we cuddle with people and snuggle with objects; others say the words are interchangeable. Both words give us the warm fuzzies (keep reading for this one), so we don’t care either way.


A nuzzle may be something your pet does more than your SO (“significant other”), but it still gives us all the feels. Meaning “to affectionately rub your nose and face against someone, it will for sure give you a warm and fuzzy feeling.

A natural expression of love, it even warms our hearts to watch videos of lions, elephants, polar bears, pigs, and other wild animals nuzzle.

Pro tip: Health officials warn you should not embrace nuzzles from chickens.


Speaking of pets, cosset means “to pamper, coddle, or treat as a pet.” So, a likely reaction to a nuzzle, no?

The word cosset may come from the Old English cot-saeta meaning “one who dwells in a cot,” or the German word hauslamm, referring to “a lamb brought up as a pet.” Strange origins for a feel-good word.


Dandle means “to move or bounce a child up and down in a playful or affectionate way.” And, keeping with our pet theme, it can also be a synonym for cosset meaning “to pet or pamper.”Dandle makes us just dandy, and there’s no denying that.


Canoodle: fun to say and more fun to experience. This one relates back to our ultimate comfy/cozy word: hygge and the pleasure we get from enjoying each other’s company. Picture a canoodle with a good friend: whispering, giggling, and sitting together. Or, for more sexy times, imagine canoodling with your SO in a candlelit room, spooning while watching your favorite Netflix series on a cold, rainy evening.

This one can apply to any relationship in your life, and we like the infinite opportunities canoodle gives us to feel, well, all the feels.


What’s more comforting than all of these words . . . how about the warm-and-fuzzy feelings you get from them? Hard to describe, they may resemble a pleasant sensation in your heart and stomach. This happy feeling can be a noun, referring to a thing or situation that provokes an emotional response, or an adjective used to describe the act of goodwill or love.

And, some people like to say they have “warm fuzzies.” This term comes from Claude Steiner’s children’s story The Warm Fuzzy Tale. 

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