\ 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 All Esparza could do was shrug her shoulders and hug her corner attendants. José M. Romero, The Arizona Republic, 7 May 2022 The sea lion also hopped up on a step ladder so Zakary could hug him. Natalya Jones, Sun Sentinel, 26 Apr. 2022 The 130-millimeter temple size means these frames will properly hug your face without falling off while the 59 millimeter lens size is on par with other mainstream sunglasses brands and models. Kaitlyn Mcinnis, Travel + Leisure, 22 Apr. 2022 Guests can now hug Mickey and the gang without social distancing or face masks. Eve Chen, USA TODAY, 19 Apr. 2022 Two women hug each other at the scene of a mass shooting in Sacramento, Calif., on Sunday, April 3, 2022. Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, 4 Apr. 2022 Fine if San Diegans don’t want to hug up Lions fans. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Sep. 2021 My mom is really mostly excited to just hold the kids and hug them, and smell the baby. Diane Herbst,, 15 Dec. 2021 Wives will hug husbands for the first time in months. John Leicester And Travis Loller, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Nov. 2021 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

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 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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