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hugged; hugging; hugs
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.
transitive : to hold (something) tightly with the arms
She hugged her knees to her chest.
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
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]
transitive : to hold (something) fast : cherish
hugged his miseries like a sulky childJohn Buchan
huggable 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


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plural hugs
: 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

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
Ice took to her Instagram Story on Monday (July 8) wearing a body hugging hot pink jumpsuit. Amber Corrine,, 9 July 2024 The Russian bid goodbye to Hocker, kissing him on each cheek and hugging him in gratitude. Dan De Luce, NBC News, 4 July 2024
Schoen then smiled and gave Daboll a one-armed hug, as director of player personnel Tim McDonnell smirked from the back row. Pat Leonard, New York Daily News, 10 July 2024 The top hotels for 2024 hug the curve of Elliott Bay and are conveniently located for reaching downtown sites like Pike Place Market, Benaroya Hall, and the Seattle Art Museum. Hannah Walhout, Travel + Leisure, 9 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for hug 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hug.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1659, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hug was in 1567

Dictionary Entries Near hug

Cite this Entry

“Hug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


hugged; hugging
: to press tightly especially in the arms : embrace
: to stay close to
drives along hugging the curb
hug noun

More from Merriam-Webster on hug

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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