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My girlfriend and I both like putting our legs over each other's when sleeping. We've been trying to find the English verb for this for a while. Does English have such a word?

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    Normally, only the person who gets to put their leg over the other's body feels comfortable. That's why the other might say, "Stop ____-ing me!" I suppose we can't say, "Stop intertwining with me!" So, what should we say in this situation? Commented Mar 29 at 3:15
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    Ahh, that context helps! I agree with @OldBrixtonian that the word "straddle" is the closest description of the physical act. I think that native speakers are more likely though in this case to refer to the effect of the leg. I've said to my partner "Stop smothering me!" if I feel like I am pinned down and can't move or can't breathe. Alternatively, "Stop squishing me!" if their body is too heavy on mine. Commented Mar 29 at 3:48
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    @OldBrixtonian Straddles means "to sit or stand with one of your legs on either side of somebody/something". When I hear "straddle", I often think about the riding-a-horse position. But here both are lying next to each other, there's just one leg, not the whole body, being put over the other. Commented Mar 29 at 3:50
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    In informal British English 'getting your leg over' means something rather more than the action described. Commented Mar 29 at 8:21
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    My girlfriend and I both like putting our legs over each other's when sleeping.=Nope. Either the legs are intertwined, OR one is draping his or her leg over the other. straddle is not right here because when you straddle, you are on top of the person (ahem).
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 29 at 13:36

2 Answers 2

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I don't believe there is a specific single word in English that exclusively describes draping a leg over someone in the same way that "hug" specifically refers to putting arms around someone.

'Cuddling' tends to mean more than just a hug, especially seated or in bed where it is possible to become more intertwined with another person. But again, it doesn't specifically describe what you mean.

There are some names for certain positions of closeness, for example 'spooning' refers to two people lying side by side, facing the same direction, but this can also describe a sexual position as well as a cuddling technique! Again, perhaps not what you want.

If you're looking for a verb of the actual action of placing the leg over someone rather than a noun for the position you end up in, I would use the language from my first paragraph - "draping a leg over".

Drape: to put something loosely over something:

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    Congratulations on reaching 100k rep.
    – James K
    Commented Mar 31 at 13:40
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The comments suggested straddle (although this primarily means sitting on top of something with your legs around it). Cover could also work.

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  • I'd have to disagree with these suggestions - 'straddle' very specifically means "sit or stand with one leg on either side of", so it couldn't be used for a lying position. And 'cover' means to put something over or around so as to conceal i; in other words, completely cover. A leg cannot completely cover a whole torso.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Mar 30 at 9:38

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