\ 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

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Examples of bear-hug in a Sentence

Noun He gave his brother a bear hug.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Body camera video shows Smith talking cooperatively with one of the officers when Wheeler walks up silently behind Smith, grabs his right wrist and pins both of his arms to his sides in a bear hug. Russ Bynum, Star Tribune, "Officer denies wrongdoing in violent takedown of wrong man," 19 Aug. 2020 Speaking to the Verge last week, Boston Dynamics engineer Sam Seifert recalled an incident when a passerby gave Spot a bear hug. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Businesses Can Now Buy Spot, Boston Dynamics’ Robotic ‘Dog’," 18 June 2020 Body camera video shows Antonio Arnelo Smith handing his driver’s license to a Black police officer and answering questions cooperatively before a white officer walks up behind him, wraps him in a bear hug and slams him face-first to the ground. Russ Bynum, Anchorage Daily News, "Police in Georgia sued for taking down wrong man," 1 July 2020 The video shows Wheeler walk up silently behind Smith, grab his right wrist and pin both of his arms to his sides in a bear hug. Russ Bynum, Anchorage Daily News, "Police in Georgia sued for taking down wrong man," 1 July 2020 The video shows another officer, whose badge was visible in the video and was identified to CNN by Haugabrook as Wheeler, come up behind Smith and put him in a bear hug. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Wrongly arrested Black man said he knew he was going to be falsely accused as police approached him," 30 June 2020 Now would also be a good time to give yourself a bear hug for, like, 20 seconds. Kathryn O'shea-evans,, "How to Plan the Ultimate Date Night For Yourself," 5 May 2020 After hitting the first security guard, the other was allegedly seen using his elbows to strike another employee who grabbed him in a bear hug, causing them both to fall to the ground. Fox News, "California suspects arrested after brawling with Target employees over refusal to wear masks: police," 12 May 2020 Saints: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor — After this pick, Brees wraps Sean Payton in an uncomfortably long virtual bear hug. 25. Eric Branch,, "Mock NFL draft 2020: Who will 49ers take with two first-round picks?," 18 Apr. 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.

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First Known Use of bear-hug


1907, in the meaning defined above


1837, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for bear-hug

Time Traveler

The first known use of bear-hug was in 1837

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Statistics for bear-hug

Last Updated

3 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bear-hug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

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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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