"hug, embrace so as to keep warm; lie close or snug," 1520s (implied in cudlyng), of uncertain origin. OED calls it "A dialectal or nursery word." Perhaps a variant or frequentative form of obsolete cull, coll "to embrace" (see collar (n.)); or perhaps from Middle English *couthelen, from couth "known," hence "comfortable with." It has a spotty early history and seems to have been a nursery word at first. Related: Cuddled; cuddling. As a noun, "a hug, an embrace," by 1825.
updated on June 01, 2018