\ ˈber-ˌhəg How to pronounce bear-hug (audio) \
bear-hugged; bear-hugging; bear-hugs

Definition of bear-hug

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to embrace in a bear hug

bear hug


Definition of bear hug (Entry 2 of 2)

: a rough tight embrace

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for bear-hug

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of bear-hug in a Sentence

Noun He gave his brother a bear hug.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Upon standing up, Brees was the first person to run up to Kamara and the 41-year-old wrapped up No. 41 in a bear hug. Amie Just | Staff Writer,, "Alvin Kamara goes ballistic on Christmas and Saints clinch NFC South (again); here's how," 25 Dec. 2020 The cook told the officer the man being held in a bear hug was responsible. John Benson, cleveland, "Jealous girlfriend beats up gas station employee: Broadview Heights Police Blotter," 21 Oct. 2020 Defensive tackle Zatrell Garrett sacked Viera quarterback CJ Simms with a bear hug, stripped the ball and ran 14 yards for a TD. Steve Gorches,, "Edgewater dominates Viera in 7A football playoffs," 27 Nov. 2020 His mother, Donna Vidrine, arrived at the curb outside Terminal 1 and scooped Jacquie into a big bear hug. Los Angeles Times, "Airports become a surreal oasis from COVID fears, warnings as determined holiday travelers take flight," 25 Nov. 2020 His reward for such a big save: A big bear hug from Boxall. Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune, "Minnesota United blows two-goal lead, settles for draw with Houston," 19 Sep. 2020 Moments later, Jones and Valparaiso coach Bill Marshall embraced in a big bear hug. Michael Osipoff,, "‘We were resilient’: Cooper Jones leans into role as leader after Valparaiso’s loss to Zionsville at semistate," 20 Nov. 2020 His fiancée, Gwen Stefani, instantly hit her steal button for Allen, earning a big bear hug from Shelton. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "'The Voice': John Legend calls country singer 'boring,' Gwen Stefani steals him from fiancé Blake Shelton," 18 Nov. 2020 Dupree posted a photo of his bear hug of Burrow during the Steelers' 36-10 win on Sunday in Pittsburgh. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, "Steven Nelson's 'trash' comment on Dupree's post of Burrow photo arouses Bengals fans' ire," 17 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bear-hug.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of bear-hug


1907, in the meaning defined above


1837, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bear-hug

Time Traveler for bear-hug

Time Traveler

The first known use of bear-hug was in 1837

See more words from the same year

Statistics for bear-hug

Cite this Entry

“Bear-hug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bear-hug

bear hug


English Language Learners Definition of bear hug

: a strong and rough hug : an act of showing affection by putting your arms around someone and squeezing very tightly

More from Merriam-Webster on bear-hug

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bear-hug

Comments on bear-hug

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!