Monday, April 26, 2010
Snug as a Bug...
While taking photos this weekend, I caught my friend’s Doxie Iris right after she crawled into the blankets on the futon. To me the image epitomized the saying, "Snug as a bug in a rug," which I can remember my mother telling me when she tucked me into bed, along with, "Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite."
"Snug as a bug" implies a sense of great safety, comfort, and contentment. And, apparently, the phrase has been around for centuries.
The "as X as a Y" format of the saying is common in the English language. The "X" in question invariably refers to a property that "Y" typically possesses. When it comes to the snug bug, it’s hard to imagine a place more congenial to snuggle down as a warm hearth-rug. The specific type of bug originally referred to remains a mystery, with some sources mentioning a cricket and others a carpet beetle.
The first-known written use of the phrase was the Stratford Jubilee during a celebration of David Garrick's 1769 Shakespeare festival: "If she [a rich widow] has the mopus’s [money], I'll have her, as snug as a bug in a rug." Similar sayings appeared in print even earlier: in Thomas Heywood's 1603 play A Woman Killed With Kindness ("Let us sleep as snug as pigs in pease-straw") and in Edward Ward’s 1706 The Wooden World Dissected ("He sits as snug as a bee in a box").
Benjamin Franklin used the saying as part of an epitaph he wrote in 1772 following the death of Skugg, the pet squirrel belonging to Georgina Shipley, the daughter of his friend, the Bishop of St Asaph:
as a bug
in a rug.
Origins aside, I thought I’d share some more images that capture the sense of the saying.