nuz·​zle ˈnə-zəl How to pronounce nuzzle (audio)
nuzzled; nuzzling ˈnəz-liŋ How to pronounce nuzzle (audio)

intransitive verb

: to work with or as if with the nose
especially : to root, rub, or snuff something
: to lie close or snug

transitive verb

: to root, rub, or touch with or as if with the nose
: to rub or push gently against something
nuzzled her face against the cushion

Example Sentences

The dog nuzzled my leg. He nuzzled into her neck.
Recent Examples on the Web Horses came and were sniffing their hair and nuzzling them. Madison Feller, ELLE, 8 Apr. 2023 One morning, Kiwi came over to nuzzle me awake. cleveland, 25 May 2022 Beef short ribs nuzzle up to Asian pear. David Hochman, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 Mother bears nuzzle muzzles with their cubs to demonstrate affection and strengthen bonds. Discover Magazine, 17 Apr. 2015 The bond remained strong between the best friends as Bucket, now 5, grew to more than 1,200 pounds — and started kneeling down to get on eye level with the now 9-year-old Colton to play, nuzzle and groom each other. Diane Herbst, Peoplemag, 27 Dec. 2022 Some are former strays that remain too skittish to step inside, while other indoor ones frequently nuzzle up against Ms. Broe and her daughter. Jennifer Medina, New York Times, 5 Nov. 2022 But when the elephant started rubbing his head with its trunk and eventually tried to nuzzle his nose and mouth, Kaunda reached breaking point and burst out laughing. Terry Baddoo, USA TODAY, 16 Nov. 2022 Tens of thousands of people tuned in every day to watch Dillie loll amid her stuffed toys and nuzzle the family poodle. Susan Orlean, The New Yorker, 25 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nuzzle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English noselen to bring the nose toward the ground, from nose

First Known Use

1530, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nuzzle was in 1530

Dictionary Entries Near nuzzle

Cite this Entry

“Nuzzle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


nuz·​zle ˈnəz-əl How to pronounce nuzzle (audio)
nuzzled; nuzzling -(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce nuzzle (audio)
: to push or rub with the nose
: to lie close : nestle

More from Merriam-Webster on nuzzle

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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