• snuggery •
Pronunciation: snêg-êr-ee • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A snug place, a friendly nook to which someone might retreat or retire for seclusion and comfort. 2. A snug job position offering security without risk, a sinecure. 3. (Britain) A small room adjoining the bar in a pub.
Notes: Today's Good Word is a member of a fascinating family of comfort terms based on snug, a word remindful of a mother's arms: close, trustworthy, secure. To find that snugness, we snuggle, a verb that implies deep affection and complete trust. We all have or wish we had a place where we could occasionally retreat from "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune", as Hamlet put it. That would be our snuggery. Of course, if you have more than one, change the [y] to [ie] for the plural: snuggeries.
In Play: A snuggery is basically a comfort blanket for adults: "Someone must have hurt his feelings; Justin Case just crawled off into his snuggery to sulk." However, this word is based on snug with the place suffix -ery (winery, bakery, eatery), so it may be applied to any snug place, including a job or position: "Felicia's job has become a little snuggery where no one bothers her, and she bothers no one."
Word History: The adjective snug started out as a nautical term, as to make a ship snug and trim in preparation for a storm. However, today's Good Word was used for centuries as a verb meaning "to snuggle". The adjective is related to Swedish snygg and Danish snøg "neat, tidy, pretty", but little more is known about it. It might be related to "snail", which in Old English was snaegel, and refers to a creature that carries its snuggery on its back. However, we have scant evidence of such a link.