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cosy / cozy

cosy. See cozy. — Webster, 1882

cozy. Snug; comfortable; easy. — Webster, 1882

A deal is being closed whereby Miss Madge Rodney purchases the Loftus store building from the estate, and it is her intention to move The Style Shop to that location, from the cozy quarters of the W. Ellwyn White building. Miss Rodney opened her store here two years ago after several years at Carthage. – De Smet News, July 2, 1926

Looking for a word or phrase in the Little House books isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially if you’re searching for them in digital or online book texts. Sometimes the wrong word is used: In The Long Winter, Pa brought the hay in, one “blade” at a time (should be bale). There are instances where a word is either misspelled or the wrong word is used (such as “angel bank” instead of angel band in The First Four Years). Wilder often uses variations of a compound word in the books, such as milk pan (two word), milk-pan (hyphenated), and milkpan (one word). Wilder also uses both British and American spellings of the same word: take “cosy / cozy,” for example.

When On the Banks of Plum Creek was first published, someone apparently edited the manuscript’s “plow” (American) to “plough” (British). When Rose Wilder Lane noticed, she wrote to her mother, infuriated over the change: “…Some petty fool… dared to bring British spelling into your American books. “Plough” is NOT American; it is pure English. “Plow” is the American word…”

Subsequent printings were corrected in this case, but both Laura and Rose somehow missed that the Little House books contain both the British “cosy” and the American “cozy,” although both spellings are never used in the same book. Laura’s handwritten Pioneer Girl manuscript, however, does use both spellings!

They were cosy and comfortable in their little house made of logs, with the snow drifted around it and the wind crying because it could not get in by the fire. – Big Woods manuscript

Be it “snug and cozy” or “cozy and comfortable,” all of the published Little House books find a way to highlight the Ingalls family’s contentment with their surroundings no matter what is going on outside the home. Wolves may howl and blizzards may rage, but when the whole family is together in close proximity, they are content. The closeness of the family is often mirrored in the smallness of their surroundings: the little house made of logs in the Big Woods or the family huddled around the fire in the Surveyors’ House.


cosy (BW 1-2, 4, 13; FB 7, 10, 26; BPC 12, 31, 34-35, 37, 39; SSL 14-16, 22, 24; TLW 3, 10, 18, 21; THGY 4, 12, 26; OTWH III; PG)
cozy (LHP 3, 16-17, 20; LTP 13, 20; PG)