Printable Version
Pronunciation: sng-r-ree Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A snug, secure, personal retreat where you might retire for seclusion against the world and its cares. 2. A sinecure or "featherbed"; a secure job requiring little effort. 3. (UK) A nook adjoining the bar in a pub.

Notes: Today's Good Word is a member of a comfortable family of terms referring to places that are as small, comfortable, and as secure as your mother's arms. Instead of being derived from a verb, the verb snuggle is derived from it. We snuggle with someone or something for which we have a deep affection and complete trust. We all have a special place to which we can retreat from what Shakespeare's Hamlet called "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune". Maybe some of us have several snuggeries.

In Play: A snuggery is a comfort blanket for adults in the form of a place. It need not be a room but any place little frequented by others: "Les Hyde has a little snuggery behind the mail room that he crawls into and pouts whenever his feelings are hurt." A snuggery does not have to be a physical place, though; it may be a comfortable job or position: "This company is going down the tubes because all the middle management positions are little snuggeries for members of the president's family."

Word History: Today's Good Word is the common word snug with the suffix -ery. This suffix has several functions in English. It often indicates the quality that characterizes the noun or adjective it is added to, as buffoonery characterizes buffoons, knavery characterizes knaves, and mugwumpery characterizes mugwumps. But it also marks places, as a bakery is where things are baked, a perfumery is a place where perfume is sold, and a snottery is a place where you find snotty or otherwise nasty things (honest). The word snug came from Swedish snygg "neat, tidy, pretty" but little more is known about it. There may be a connection with snail, the name of a beastie that carries its snuggery on its back. However, we can only hope for such a lovely relationship; we have no evidence of it.

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!