Italian Word of the Day: Coccola (cuddle)

One of the sweetest words in the Italian language is coccola (feminine), which is how you’d say cuddle or snuggle. An interesting fact about this word is that it usually appears in its plural form coccole.

/ˈkɔkkola/

Ai bambini piccoli piacciono molto le coccole.

Young children like cuddles a lot.


Proud Father Cuddling Baby Son In Nursery At Home

When not referring to a sweet embrace, it can also denote a special item or event that gives great pleasure or comfort. Some possible English translations include treat, a little something or indulgence.

Ho voglia di una coccola. Mi vai a prendere un gelato?

I want a treat. Can you go and get me an ice cream?


The verb to cuddle (or to give / have a cuddle) in Italian is coccolare. It can also be expressed by adding the verb fare (to do / to make) in front of the plural le coccole.

Micio è un gatto tranquillo. Ama ricevere le coccole, ma gli piace anche farne!

Micio is a quiet cat. He loves receiving cuddles, but he also likes giving them!


cat is purring on the legs of a man that cuddle his head

Note that when coccolare is used in a pejorative sense, it translates as to coddle, to pamper or to spoil.

The reflexive verb coccolarsi, along with the synonymous expression farsi una coccola, means to spoil oneself / to treat oneself in a positive sense or to console oneself / to wallow in a negative sense.

La sera mi faccio sempre una coccola mangiando un pezzo di cioccolato e guardando un film.

In the evening, I always spoil myself by eating a piece of chocolate and watching a movie.


By adding the prefix a- to the front of coccolare, we get the related reflexive verb accoccolarsi which means to snuggle or to crouch down.

A person who is a coccolone (masculine) or coccolona (feminine) loves giving and receiving cuddles. Rather curiously, coccolone is also an informal synonym for ictus (a stroke) or spavento (big scare).

Finally, coccole and coccolone are also the name for the berries of the juniper tree.

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