This great verb stems from the Latin osculum, literally meaning “little mouth”, but used for ‘to kiss’. Dated back to the 1650’s, originating from osculationem, a noun of action meaning kissing or a kiss.
Why this word?
When we say kiss, we only really say kiss… Osculate on the other hand, is also a touch, not any touch- but a specific sort of a touch- the touch of a curve or a surface, with another curve or surface for a common tangent at the point of contact between the two.
True, it doesn’t sound as nice as “kiss” or “kissing”, but it elaborates on the participants of that action- drawing an imaginary line of resemblance between the two.
Both ‘kiss’ and ‘osculate’ are single words, but I personally love the fact that one refers to nothing but the action while the other one adds some extra value to it.
How to use osculate?
Honestly, I wouldn’t replace ‘kiss’ with ‘osculate’ when merely referring to the physical kiss… But when a one single kiss leaves you with the sense of eternal connection- this would be the right word to use!