\ˈber-ˌhəg \
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

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Synonyms for bear-hug

Synonyms: Verb

clasp, crush, embrace, enclasp, enfold, grasp, hug, strain

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Examples of bear-hug in a Sentence


He gave his brother a bear hug.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Then a couple dozen children ran to her and into a class bear hug. Liz Bowie,, "Baltimore County teacher calls it a career after 41 years in the same first-grade classroom," 15 June 2018 Frances McDormand grabs her Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri co-star Sam Rockwell in a bear hug, before fixing his bow tie. Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, "Oscars 2018: Everything crazy thing we saw backstage at the Academy Awards," 5 Mar. 2018 Sonics legend Gary Payton gave out bear hugs on stage. Evan Webeck, The Seattle Times, "A little rain gives Special Olympics USA Games’ opening ceremony a Pacific Northwest feel," 1 July 2018 Daniel Strada was an inspirational fitness buff who made goofy YouTube videos and wrapped his mother in giant bear hugs. Michael Williams,, "Lake Mary man was killed by a stray bullet — all because of a fight he had no part in," 12 July 2018 When Yelich emerged from the dugout before batting practice, Justin Bour greeted him with a bear hug. Matthew Defranks,, "Christian Yelich returns to Marlins Park as an All-Star, in first place: 'I really did enjoy my five years here'," 9 July 2018 The men fought — Knight got one punch in and tried to hold Baptista in a type of bear hug, said Gembolis. Rafael Olmeda,, "Suspect in Miramar manslaughter argues self defense," 22 June 2018 The Korean leaders' second summit in a month saw bear hugs and broad smiles., "U.S. delegation holds talks with North Korean officials in Demilitarized Zone," 27 May 2018 Casey swallowed him up in a gigantic bear hug and held on tight. Ron Richmond For The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Inside Luke Heimlich's senior season with the Oregon State baseball team," 8 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of bear-hug


1887, in the meaning defined above


1846, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for bear-hug

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Time Traveler for bear-hug

The first known use of bear-hug was in 1846

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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

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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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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