\ 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

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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

When Spencer bounded from his bed and wrapped this fellow expat in a bear hug, Robinson was taken aback. Alex Prewitt,, "How Do You Say 'Cheesecake Factory' In Mandarin? Behind the Scenes of Life in the Chinese Basketball Association," 27 June 2019 Usually just a hello with a smile is sufficient for greetings, though someone may surprise you with a bear hug at your departure. National Geographic, "See Jerusalem like a Nat Geo Explorer," 16 Apr. 2019 Osorio beamed, receiving a string of ferocious bear hugs from his players and staff members. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "A Fearless Mexico Tops Germany, With Help From Its Cerebral Coach," 18 June 2018 Amid these challenges, moms are essentially the first responders to the children's distress — and cheering up a child with a funny face or bear hug doesn't quite solve bullying or pimple embarrassment. Christine Coppa, Good Housekeeping, "Middle School Proves to Be the Most Stressful Time — for the Whole Family," 27 Jan. 2016 Rondo tried to land another punch, and Paul retaliated with a punch of his own before he was held back in a bear hug by James. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "LeBron James’s First Game in Los Angeles Turns Into Fight Night," 21 Oct. 2018 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

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

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).


not constant or steady

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