\ 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 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 Some dogs might love getting squeezed in a bear hug or massaged by an adoring child. Alla Katsnelson, New York Times, "How to Stop Your Child From Tormenting Your Pet," 15 Apr. 2020 The video showed the team coming in to give bear hugs to the coach. Fox News, "Arkansas college football team shaves heads in solidarity with coach battling cancer," 29 Aug. 2019 The witness then presented photos showing the two together, including one of the captain giving her a bear hug, according to the newspaper. Audrey Mcnamara, CBS News, "Missouri officer told to "tone down" his "gayness" settles suit for $10.25 million," 11 Feb. 2020 Rose Marie Cromwell for The New York Times The Super Bowl is back in Miami this year, and the organizers are giving a bear hug to the bold, exuberant street art that is a hallmark of the host city. Joseph B. Treaster, New York Times, "The Super Bowl Is the Biggest Art Show in Miami Right Now," 29 Jan. 2020 Lewis was generous with his bear hugs and brought joy to those around him., "Lewis M. Salomon," 1 Dec. 2019 Smith received a sweet hug from his young grandson followed by a bear hug from athletic director Josh Whitman. Shannon Ryan,, "Illinois rallies from a 25-point deficit to beat Michigan State 37-34 and become bowl-eligible for the 1st time since 2014," 9 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for bear-hug

Time Traveler

The first known use of bear-hug was in 1846

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Statistics for bear-hug

Cite this Entry

“Bear-hug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 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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