smooch

A word that shapes the moue you use to mooch a smack on the bouche. Its middle may seem to be moo but more the mood and the moon than any cow sound. Better to see the tandem o‘s as the heart of it: two puckered sets of lips ready to juxtapose. The s lets you hear it coming; the ch gives the release, but not like the end of smack: this alveolar affricate pushes the lower jaw forward a bit so its set is as during impassioned chest-heaving. Truly, this is a better oral gesture for kissing than kiss gives us with its velar start and unpuckered vowel. This word came to us from earlier smouch, rhymes with ouch, but clearly this version is softer sounding (with no echo of pain) and cuts straight to the action. The Oxford English Dictionary notes that this word refers to kissing and petting not just in general but especially while dancing to a lazy, romantic melody. Let all those who collocate it with pooch take note and reconsider: this is a buss at the ball, not a snog with a dog.

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