Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb em·brace \im-ˈbrās\

Simple Definition of embrace

  • : to hold someone in your arms as a way of expressing love or friendship

  • : to accept (something or someone) readily or gladly

  • : to use (an opportunity) eagerly

Full Definition of embrace


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to clasp in the arms :  hug b :  cherish, love

  3. 2 :  encircle, enclose

  4. 3 a :  to take up especially readily or gladly <embrace a cause> b :  to avail oneself of :  welcome <embraced the opportunity to study further>

  5. 4 a :  to take in or include as a part, item, or element of a more inclusive whole <charity embraces all acts that contribute to human welfare> b :  to be equal or equivalent to <his assets embraced $10>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to participate in an embrace

embrace·able play \-ˈbrā-sə-bəl\ adjective
em·brace·ment play \-ˈbrās-mənt\ noun
em·brac·er noun
em·brac·ing·ly play \-ˈbrā-siŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of embrace

  1. They embraced one last time before going their separate ways.

  2. a politician who has been embraced by conservatives

  3. Charity embraces all acts of generous giving.

  4. It's a subject that embraces many areas of learning.

Origin of embrace

Middle English, from Anglo-French embracer, from en- + brace pair of arms — more at brace

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of embrace

adopt, embrace, espouse mean to take an opinion, policy, or practice as one's own. adopt implies accepting something created by another or foreign to one's nature <forced to adopt new policies>. embrace implies a ready or happy acceptance <embraced the customs of their new homeland>. espouse adds an implication of close attachment to a cause and a sharing of its fortunes <espoused the cause of women's rights>.

include, comprehend, embrace, involve mean to contain within as part of the whole. include suggests the containment of something as a constituent, component, or subordinate part of a larger whole <the price of dinner includes dessert>. comprehend implies that something comes within the scope of a statement or definition <his system comprehends all history>. embrace implies a gathering of separate items within a whole <her faith embraces both Christian and non-Christian beliefs>. involve suggests inclusion by virtue of the nature of the whole, whether by being its natural or inevitable consequence <the new job involves a lot of detail>.



noun em·brace

Simple Definition of embrace

  • : the act of holding someone in your arms : the act of embracing someone

Full Definition of embrace

  1. 1 :  a close encircling with the arms and pressure to the chest especially as a sign of affection :  hug

  2. 2 :  grip, encirclement <in the embrace of terror>

  3. 3 :  acceptance <her embrace of new ideas>

Examples of embrace

  1. He held her in a warm embrace.


First Known Use of embrace


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up embrace? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

kittly-benders duvet spindrift pince-nez
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.