\ 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 In 2015, while an assistant principal at Margate Elementary, she was accused of putting her arm around a 12-year-old girl’s neck, placing the student in a bear hug and pinning the student’s face against the wall, according to a state complaint. Scott Travis,, "Assistant principal accused of striking student retires," 13 Sep. 2019 One example is pausing to give yourself a bear hug. Allison Bagley, Houston Chronicle, "Houston-area schools adopt mindfulness practices to increase learning," 31 July 2019 On Burlingame’s right shin, there’s a tattoo of a bear hugging an Alabama map, a heart symbol marking Huntsville’s location. Matt Wake |, al, "Huntsville, here’s your next coffee obsession," 19 Aug. 2019 In the first episode of the new season: bear hugs, cameras, and of course, succession planning. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "‘Succession’ Recap, S2E1: ‘Blood in the Water’," 12 Aug. 2019 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

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

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).


concealed or difficult to comprehend

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