If You Know What A Hugger Is, You're Probably From Mobile

Just about every Southern household has a designated container for them.

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If you clicked on this article, you are probably: A. From Mobile, Alabama, (and its surrounding areas) and want to be sure the writer is as well, or B. From another geographic location and extremely confused as to what a hugger is. Welcome! To start, I was born and raised in Mobile, Scout’s honor. Second, a hugger is not that one aunt who holds onto you an awkward smidge too long during a hug. 

If you’ve ever been to a wedding in the South, or any event for that matter, it’s safe to assume that there were custom huggers made for the occasion. Plus, just about every Southern household has some sort of designated container for the huggers that pile up over the years.

What we Mobilians call a hugger, you will recognize as a koozie, Koozie, or KOOZIE. I’m not going to get into it, but there has been trademark litigation around those terms, so we might be better off calling it a hugger anyway! It’s surmised that koozie is an offshoot of cozy, which refers to the original tea cozy, an adorable knitted invention meant to keep your tea kettle warm. So a cozy keeps warm, a koozie keeps cool, which makes perfect sense phonetically. 

Some people even call them drink huggies, which is closer to our beloved hugger terminology, but it’s also a diaper brand. Not the ideal image you want while sipping a cold one. No offense to the folks fighting over the legal rights to the various forms of the word koozie, but hugger just makes sense. The fabric literally hugs your drink! 

I dug around the Internet and reached out to my friends at Mobile Bay magazine to see if they had any idea why this particular wording is used only in my hometown to no avail. Just like we prefer the word wharf to pier or dock, we simply (and inexplicably) have a vocabulary all our own. If you’re from Mobile or know a Mobilian, a collection of words unique to the city probably doesn’t surprise you. Whatever you call it, I propose a toast to this invention that’s accompanied Southerners on countless beach trips, dance floors, and porch parties. Cheers!

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