Word of the day – cwtsh

cwtsh [ku:tS] = to hug; to cuddle; to kiss; to lie down; a safe place; a cupboard/space under stairs; a scuttle (for coal); snug; cosy; nice and warm; a kiss.

It comes from the Welsh word cwtch, which originally meant a cupboard or cubbyhole, but later acquired the extra meanings to lie down; a cuddle or hug. It was adopted into Welsh from the Middle English couche, a resting or hiding place, which comes from the French coucher, to lie down; to sleep.

Examples of usage:

I just want to go and cwtch him = I just want to go and hug him.
– a comment apparently made by Elizabeth Taylor about Richard Burton

Give me a cwtsh = Give me a hug

This word is an example of Wenglish, a mixture of Welsh and English spoken by many people in Wales, especially in south Wales. It’s first recorded use in English was in the 1920s according to this page. It also the most popular word in Wales, according to this report. I heard being used in a song on Radio Cymru today. It’s a song I’ve heard quite a few times before, and now I finally know what it’s about.

This entry was posted in English, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases.

2 Responses to Word of the day – cwtsh

  1. Polly says:

    Yesterday, I watched a British movie that had lots of words I’d never heard. It was set in the 30’s, mostly in Sussex(I think) and a rural area. I apologize if any of these are “foul”:


    mun = “must” as in “I mun go spread the word…”


    wennit – this could be a proper name, I’m not sure

    There was a farming term that I don’t remember exactly. It sounded like “skernettle”???

    There were several more but I’ve forgotten them already. I wish I wrote them down. The thought didn’t occur to me until after the movie.

  2. Simon says:

    These sound like dialect words – not ones I’ve heard before though.

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