1 of 2


bear-hugged; bear-hugging; bear-hugs

transitive verb

: to embrace in a bear hug

bear hug

2 of 2


: a rough tight embrace

Example Sentences

Noun He gave his brother a bear hug.
Recent Examples on the Web
The witness made physical contact with the suspect and another bystander grabbed the suspect in a bear hug and held him to the ground, the indictment said. Bynadine El-bawab, ABC News, 4 Nov. 2022 A few years went by; then, during one of his episodes, Jamal grabbed a woman sitting next to him on the bus and held her for a few seconds in a bear hug. Ruha Benjamin, Time, 18 Oct. 2022 The assailant ambushed Danielson with a bear hug and began thrusting a large butcher knife into his torso, Hardy said. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Sep. 2022 Naperville Central senior linebacker Christian Kuta greeted Naperville North senior quarterback Aidan Gray with a big bear hug on the first possession of overtime Friday night. Matt Le Cren, Chicago Tribune, 1 Oct. 2022 Lloyd was the state of Utah’s highest NFL draft pick, a first-round pick who got the chance to bear hug commissioner Roger Goodell on the opening night of the draft. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 May 2022 Those jams have a way of walking you into the hypnotic cyclorama of schmaltziness that the ’80s fully embraced with a bear hug. Ed Schrader, SPIN, 6 Sep. 2022 Erin celebrated the good news with a cookie cake — and a bear hug from Ben. Mary Ellen Cagnassola,, 2 June 2022 Yes, that was the punchline: Give this bear a bear hug. Essence, 19 May 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use


1907, in the meaning defined above


1837, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bear-hug was in 1837

Dictionary Entries Near bear-hug

Cite this Entry

“Bear-hug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

bear hug


: a rough tight hug
bear-hug verb
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