\ ˈhəg How to pronounce hug (audio) \
hugged; hugging; hugs

Definition of hug

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a transitive + intransitive : to press (someone) tightly in one's arms especially as a sign of affection They hugged each other before saying goodbye. We hugged briefly.
b transitive : to hold (something) tightly with the arms She hugged her knees to her chest.
c transitive : to wrap one's arms around (oneself) She was wearing only a wraparound denim skirt over her black bathing suit, and in the chill of approaching evening was hugging herself.— John Updike (figurative) Jerome looked puzzled, or pretended to. In reality he was hugging himself with delight.— Lucy Maud Montgomery
2 transitive : to stay close to (something) a road that hugs the river a boat hugging the shore clothes that hug your body's curves [=tight-fitting clothes]
3 transitive : to hold (something) fast : cherish hugged his miseries like a sulky child— John Buchan


plural hugs

Definition of hug (Entry 2 of 2)

: a close embrace with the arms especially as a sign of affection She gave me a hug. hugs and kisses "He was very, very compassionate. Very loving. He always gave you a hug hello and a hug goodbye."The Salt Lake Tribune Peggotty was not slow to respond, and ratify the treaty of friendship by giving me one of her best hugs.— Charles Dickens

Other Words from hug


huggable \ ˈhə-​gə-​bəl How to pronounce hug (audio) \ adjective
… whenever you get a chance at a reunion to hug someone who looks huggable, do it. — Mike Deupree
hugger noun, plural huggers
Senior is restrained, the sort of man you lean close to, to hear. Junior is a hugger and kisser, buoyant, vibrant, colorful. — Rick Reilly

Examples of hug in a Sentence

Verb We hugged briefly, and then it was time to say goodbye. I hugged my knees to my chest. The road hugs the river. The boat hugged the shore.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When the road coils, the standard rear-axle steering and the heft of the 1204-pound battery hung low in the chassis help the Electrified G80 graciously hug an apex. Car and Driver, 18 Aug. 2022 These are best for people who need less specific support and want to snuggle up and hug their body pillow. Emma Seymour, Good Housekeeping, 12 Aug. 2022 Instead of supporting from a very long distance, Grace was able to hug her son and share a moment the two will never forget. Marlee Zanna Thompson, The Arizona Republic, 9 July 2022 Comfy dishes would hug my fingertips, and the keys required a noticeable amount of travel, 1.5 mm, to actuate, ensuring the scissor switches never felt mushy or flat but, rather, tactile. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 8 July 2022 Varona, deported to Mexico in 2011 after living in the U.S. for 18 years, was able to hug her daughter for the first time in more than a decade. Alexandra Mendozawriter, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 June 2022 This is okay, too; just love him and hug him through it. Meghan Leahy, Washington Post, 22 June 2022 The leading purveyor of unnerving weather systems is Froggy’s Fog of Tennessee, and among its newest technology is the Poseidon A2, designed to generate a fog layer that will hug the ground of any decent graveyard. Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune, 15 June 2022 Jeb arrives home, and his daughters hug him and warmly welcome him. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hug.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of hug


1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1659, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hug


perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse hugga to soothe

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Last Updated

1 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for hug


\ ˈhəg How to pronounce hug (audio) \
hugged; hugging

Kids Definition of hug

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to clasp in the arms : embrace
2 : to keep close to The ship hugged the coast.



Kids Definition of hug (Entry 2 of 2)

More from Merriam-Webster on hug

Nglish: Translation of hug for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hug for Arabic Speakers


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