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I heard it a while ago from a British fellow (actually it was snugly), never before and never since. Now I listen to an audiobook of Dickens' David Copperfield and snug is a common term, i.e. a snug room or a snug coach. Dickens language is most likely dated so I was wondering if snug is still commonly used and/or its use pertains only to some regions?

I tried to research with the help of Google search, but the top results are mostly dictionaries.

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  • Yes, it's definitely still current. According to this Ngram, snug is even slightly more common than cosy. – Lawrence Nov 4 '16 at 0:58
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    Try playing with books.google.com/ngrams. Use "snug" , "snug as * ", "snug and * " as search fields. Don't put the quotes in the search field. – Phil Sweet Nov 4 '16 at 1:10
  • @Phil Sweet your comment should have been an answer. – ab2 Nov 4 '16 at 1:29
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    Er, you heard this from “a British” what? Did you perhaps leave out the word speaker, or did you mean the noun Briton in lieu of the adjective British? – tchrist Nov 4 '16 at 1:51
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It certainly has been common currency in Britain during my lifetime (which began during WW2).

We still talk about being as snug as a bug in a rug - it's often used with small children (sometimes to encourage them to want to go to bed).

Snug is expressive of a mood as well as a physical condition, and is a powerful descriptor of a human need.

Having said all that one has the sense that it may be in decline. Among the many senses of the word recorded in the OED, few are post-war. An exception is the snug as a bug in a rug comparative.

You may not be aware that it is also used as a noun. There they were, sitting in the snug having a cup of tea. A cosy café, or pub is sometimes referred to as the snug - usually with the definite article (interestingly). I've never heard anyone say a snug.

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    I think the use as a noun is purely British, used for a small (semi?) private room in a pub. (E.g. "The publican invited his friends into the snug.") I've never seen it used in American writing. – jamesqf Nov 4 '16 at 4:49
  • Apparently Queen Victoria used the German equivalent gemütlich to describe Osborne House. If you've ever been there you'll wonder what definition of gemütlich she was using! – BoldBen Nov 4 '16 at 10:29
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    In the US, I mostly hear it as a synonym for tight and/or form-fitting in reference to clothing, as in a snug pair of jeans. It's especially useful when somewhat euphemistic or ironic—for example, even if I'm having to fasten my pants with safety pins, I could still say they're getting a little too snug and a spandex dress that borders on indecent might also be described as a little snug. In this sense, the word is not at all old-fashioned. It might possibly be primarily a feminine usage, but I don't have evidence of that other than anecdotal. – 1006a Nov 6 '16 at 17:32
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    @1006a Yes, we also use that sense in Britain, though perhaps not quite as often as you would. It would be perfectly understood by the staff, if you were trying on a pair of trousers in Marks & Spencers. – WS2 Nov 6 '16 at 21:53
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My first thought was snug as a bug in a rug, but @WS2 beat me to it in his answer, and @Phil Sweet had a super reference in his comment. So I will point out that snuggly is a familiar word and warm and snuggly a familiar phrase.

From Oxford Living Dictionaries

Comfortable, warm, and cosy.

‘she had to stay in her snuggly bed until the last second’

a snuggly pair of slippers.

As for warm and snuggly:

The power failure did not bother us, because we were warm and snuggly, wrapped in blankets in front of the wood stove. (Made up, based on personal experience.)

See also images for warm and snuggly

For the many meanings of snug, see the OED. You may be amazed, as I was, to find the winter climate of Duluth described as snug in a quotation from 1888.

Addendum: The OP may have confused snugly with snuggly -- or he/she may have made a typo. Anyway, from Oxford Living Dictionaries

Snuggly and snugly are quite different in meaning, though frequently confused. Snuggly is an adjective meaning 'comfortable, warm, and cosy', as in a snuggly pair of slippers. Snugly is an adverb meaning 'in a very tight or close-fitting way', as in the ring fit snugly on her finger

  • Thanks ab2. I got to know the difference between snugly and snuggly beforehand. It also seems as if the adjective snug has both meanings which are split so sharply among the adverbs snugly and snuggly. – Andreas Nov 5 '16 at 0:13
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    Note that snuggly is derived from the verb snuggle, not from the adjective snug. The verb is derived from the adjective, though, so it's only one link of derivation out. So basically, if you snuggle up snugly in a snuggly blanket, you'll be snug. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 5 '16 at 1:00

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