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

Definition of hug

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive + intransitive

1a : 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 : to hold (something) tightly with the arms She hugged her knees to her chest.
c : 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 : 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 : 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

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Other Words from hug


huggable \ ˈhə-​gə-​bəl How to pronounce huggable (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Members of one family found a creative workaround to hug their grandmother while social distancing. David Leonhardt, New York Times, "How Virus Data Can Mislead," 18 May 2020 Players were warned not to spit, shake hands or hug each other to celebrate goals. Colleen Barry, Time, "European Leaders Warn the World Needs to Adapt to COVID-19 and Cannot Wait for a Vaccine," 17 May 2020 Just make sure your happy hubby doesn’t start hugging everyone after his third seltzer. Author: Wayne And Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, "My husband and I can’t seem to agree on whether we’ll to stay hunkered down," 16 May 2020 The moisture-wicking fabric, made from a recycled polyester and spandex blend, hugged my body without constricting any movement. Braelyn Wood,, "This Sports Bra Is So Comfortable, I Own It in 5 Different Colors," 14 May 2020 Let your voice reach beyond the screen and hug the audience. Zak Jason, Wired, "The Timely Retrofuturism of UC Berkeley’s Virtual Theater," 13 May 2020 The Instagram post also included a sweet shot of Dunham hugging Pitt, who has been equally serious about his own sobriety in recent years. Ale Russian,, "Lena Dunham Explains Her 'Awkward' Viral Moment with Brad Pitt: 'I Would Never Force a Kiss'," 13 May 2020 From there, the Blue Angels turned north toward Sterling Heights before finishing at St. Clair Shores, hugging the Detroit River. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "In flying over Michigan, Blue Angels send jet fuel through our souls," 12 May 2020 Tucker greeted them with a informal handshake and hugs as if all three were biological brothers who hadn't seen each other in months. Dana Scott, azcentral, "Retired NFL players following their second dreams with Phoenix Fire Department," 11 May 2020

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.

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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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Learn More about hug

Statistics for hug

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for hug


How to pronounce hug (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hug

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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)



English Language Learners Definition of hug (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of putting your arms around someone or something as a way of showing love or friendship


\ 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)

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More from Merriam-Webster on hug

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hug

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hug

Spanish Central: Translation of hug

Nglish: Translation of hug for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hug for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hug

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