The backstory ~ above “Snug together a pest in a rug.” (Spoiler Alert: Ben Franklin didn’t actually coin it.)


In 1771, Ben Franklin’s common-law wife, Deborah read Franklin transport a live gift come young Georgiana Shipley, the daughter that British girlfriend in London.

It was an American gray squirrel the Deborah assumed would do a pretty pet for the girl.

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Georgiana called it Mungo.

Mungo was likewise referred to as “Skugg.” that was a name commonly used because that squirrels at the time, the way “Pooch” is provided for dogs and “Puss” for cats.

About a year after Mungo came to be Georgiana’s pet, he escaped indigenous his cage and was killed by a dog.

The Franklins heard about this misfortune and felt bad for tiny Georgiana. So, Ben composed a letter to she to to express his sympathy and shot to cheer she up.

It is this letter, dated September 26, 1772, that resulted in the widespread belief that Franklin coined “snug as a pest in a rug,” which came to be an idiomatic way of saying someone or miscellaneous is comfortable, warm and cozy.

The letter said, in part:

To Georgiana Shipley too ~ Miss, London, Sept. 26. 1772

I lament through you most sincerely the unfortunate end of negative Mungo: couple of Squirrels were much better accomplish’d; because that he had actually had a an excellent Education, had actually travell’d far, and seen lot of the World. Together he had the Honour the being for his Virtues her Favourite, he must not go like common Skuggs without an Elegy or an Epitaph. Let us offer him one...

Here Skugg Lies snug as a bug In a Rug...


If you great it, ns shall procure another to success him. Yet perhaps you will now select some various other Amusement.

Remember me affectionately to all the great family, and believe me ever before your affectionate friend,


Franklin’s letter is definitely the most renowned use of the speak “snug together a pest in a rug.”

However, as detailed by the indispensable Phrase Finder website, the excellent book Who said That First? and other authoritative sources, it’s no the origin.

The phrase had actually previously been offered by Francis Gentleman in his satirical beat The Stratford Jubilee, published in England in 1769.

Gentleman was an Irish-born playwright, actor and critic that spent most of his functioning years in London. He’s additionally known for creating the proto-science fiction tale A pilgrimage to the Moon in 1764, under the pseudonym “Sir Humphrey Lunatic.”

In The Stratford Jubilee, a male character says he’s heard a certain widow “has the mopus’s” (a slang ax for having money). If she does, that boasts, he plans come “have her, as snug as a an insect in a rug.”

This has actually been cited as the an initial appearance the “snug together a bug in a rug” in print. However it’s feasible that its use in the play indicates it to be already part of the usual vernacular in England.

It appears probable the Franklin heard it during one that his access time there. Indeed, he was in London in 1769, for this reason he may have seen or review Gentleman’s play.

The word snug was originally a nautical term, an interpretation to make a delivery or points on a ship safe and also secure. Thus, in the 1700s, “snug as a bug in a rug” was more than likely used v the concept of gift secure or securing miscellaneous in mental — i beg your pardon is slightly different than the more contemporary sense of being comfortable, warm and cozy.

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At any kind of rate, poor Mungo the squirrel wasn’t comfortable, warm and also cozy as soon as Ben Franklin wrote his letter. He was a cold, dead Skugg.

R.I.P., Mungo. This post’s because that you.

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