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

Definition of hug

transitive verb

1 : to press tightly especially in the arms
b : to hold fast : cherish hugged his miseries like a sulky child— John Buchan
3 : to stay close to the road hugs the river

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from hug

hug noun
huggable \ ˈhə-​gə-​bəl How to pronounce huggable (audio) \ adjective
hugger noun

Examples of hug in a Sentence

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The Massachusetts senator’s strategy so far has been to hug her democratic-socialist colleague as closely as possible. John Mccormack, National Review, "Is Sanders Surging?," 12 Sep. 2019 During the walk around campus, several kids came up to hug Dr. Gauna and give him a high-five. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "California man goes from school custodian to district superintendent," 9 Sep. 2019 Then Lalchan’s attorneys requested that their client be given the opportunity to hug her elderly grandmother, who came from Taiwan to attend the hearing. Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post, "Former pharmacist sentenced to 7 ½ years in fatal shooting of husband," 7 Sep. 2019 Anchoring the dining area is a curved settee designed to hug a round table the couple has owned for 30 years. Marni Elyse Katz,, "Floor plan improvements and stylish furnishings transform a Brookline home," 5 Sep. 2019 Sri Lanka is home to a new species of tarantula—and its females are fuzzy, turquoise-tinged, and big enough to comfortably hug a donut. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "Shimmery blue tarantula discovered," 23 Aug. 2019 The purpose in going was to just hug the people and listen to them. Brian O'keefe, Fortune, "Fortune Interview: Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on Automation, Training 2.2 Million Workers, and the Tragedy in El Paso," 19 Aug. 2019 As Erion emerged from the plane, his mother rushed towards him to hug him. The Economist, "Confessions of an Islamic State fighter," 16 Aug. 2019 Then the other 6 of our friends walked over to us to hug and congratulate us. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Angry Orchard Fires Manager After Black Couple Was Harassed During Proposal," 24 July 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of hug

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hug

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hug

Dictionary Entries near hug








Statistics for hug

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hug

The first known use of hug was in 1567

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hug



English Language Learners Definition of hug

: to put your arms around someone especially as a way of showing love or friendship
: to hold (something) tightly with your arms
: to stay close to (something)


\ 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)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hug

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hug

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hug

Spanish Central: Translation of hug

Nglish: Translation of hug for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hug for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hug

What made you want to look up hug? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!