Gruscheln is a German slang word derived from a shortening of the phrase grüssen und kuscheln, meaning 'to greet and cuddle (hug) someone'. Gruscheln is commonly used in both Germany and Austria, and has just recently entered into English internet slang.

The popular German social networking site StudiVZ uses Gruscheln in the same way that Facebook uses poke. (For those of you who don't Facebook, a 'poke' is just a way of saying 'hi!' without actually talking to the person; hit the poke button and it will send a small note saying "Tem42 poked you! Poke back?"). Internet geeks have a chronic belief that anything done in another language must be cool, and hence the newest bit of internet slang is being born.

Gruscheln and its mutant twin Gruschel (the imperative form) are still uncommon on English-speaking web sites. It is used by the uber-hip geeks to show off how worldly they are, but I predict that it is ripe for a crossover.

The word "gruscheln" was born from the combination of the German verbs "grüßen" and kuscheln ("greet" and "cuddle"). It was created for a company, the social networking site StudiVZ, which needed a term for the "poke" functionality on their site - the proper German translation "anstupsen" was already used by Facebook. I would therefore count "gruscheln" as an advertising neologism, and not as a "proper" word.

As a sort-of update to Tem42's writeup, I haven't seen or heard a reference to this word in many years. I would not recommend anyone to use it, you will probably get awkward laughter as a reaction at best. In the German language sphere, the word was never seen as cool or hip either. It was closely associated with the social networking site StudiVZ, and pretty much died with it.

I remember a comedian who made a joke about the word when it was still sort of new. He suggested that "greet" and "cuddle" was not what male students actually tried to do when they'd "gruschel" female users on StudiVZ. A more accurate word, he suggested, would be "grumsen" or "gricken", implying a combination of "greet" and "bang", or "greet" and "fuck", respectively.

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