Definition of hug in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Squeeze (someone) tightly in one's arms, typically to express affection.

    ‘he hugged her close to him’
    ‘people kissed and hugged each other’
    no object ‘we hugged and kissed’
    • ‘After he did this he pulled me closer, hugging me tightly against him.’
    • ‘‘Hey’ Joel says walking over to her and hugging her tightly then kissing her forehead.’
    • ‘Rob must have felt it, because he hugged him closer and kissed him on the top of the head.’
    • ‘She knelt down before her brother, and hugged him tightly kissing his head.’
    • ‘But a woman cries when she's handed a thick stack of bills, when people hug her and kiss her on the forehead.’
    • ‘I barely made it back to my seat before people started coming up to me and hugging me and kissing me.’
    • ‘She was cut off as he got up and hugged her with a kiss on the cheek, close to her lips.’
    • ‘Her arm quickly pulled him close and she hugged him tight like she'd never let him go.’
    • ‘She wrapped him with a blanket and hugged him close, kissing his forehead.’
    • ‘He turned around to face her and she drew closer to him, hugging him tightly, kissing him on the cheek.’
    • ‘Rewatch the episodes and notice how physical their affection is, how many times Ben kisses Jake, hugs him, holds his face.’
    • ‘I smiled and squeezed the person that was hugging me affectionately.’
    • ‘She hugged him tightly and kissed him as they stood at the top of the stairs that led to the waiting crowd below.’
    • ‘He hugged me tightly, kissed me and I'm sure he smelled my hair as he rubbed my back.’
    • ‘I threw my arms around him and squeezed, hugging him and burying my face into his chest as I cried.’
    • ‘Rachael, startled about the sudden show of affection, hugged him back.’
    • ‘Her smile - small as it was - lit up her face, and she enveloped her father in her arms, hugging him and squeezing as hard as she could.’
    • ‘I wrapped my arm around his neck and pulled him close, hugging him tightly, and ignoring my throbbing arm.’
    • ‘To my surprise, he returned the kiss and also hugged me a bit more tightly.’
    • ‘I scooted as close to him as I could, hugged him, and kissed his cheek.’
    embrace, cuddle, squeeze, clasp, clutch, cling to, hold someone close, hold someone tight, take someone in one's arms, enfold someone in one's arms, clasp someone to one's bosom, press someone to one's bosom
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    1. 1.1 Hold (something) closely or tightly around or against part of one's body.
      ‘he hugged his knees to his chest’
      • ‘Seizing the nearest bathrobe, I hugged it tightly around my body before whizzing through the door barefoot.’
      • ‘Angstrom pulls his legs up close to his body, hugging them tightly.’
      • ‘I curled up in a ball, bringing my knees up and hugging them, feeling cold even under the thick quilt cover.’
      • ‘Morgan curled his arms around his knees, hugging them to his chest.’
      • ‘His wet suit was hugging every part of his body and he was hugging his surfboard.’
      • ‘I hesitantly sat down next to her, hugging my knees tightly.’
      • ‘Kassa sat huddled in a corner of the small room, hugging her knees tightly to her chest and resting her forehead on them.’
      • ‘She quickly crawled against the railing and sobbed, grabbing her knees against her, hugging it tightly for comfort.’
      • ‘I told Christopher honestly, propping my knees up and hugging them.’
      • ‘Annika spent most of her time with her sister, knees drawn up to her chest, hugging them tightly.’
      • ‘I clutched the gown to me and felt that feminine joy spread throughout my body as I hugged it to myself.’
      • ‘Then the older of the two folded her arms around her knees, hugging them to her chest.’
      • ‘Blair reached out for the blanket now and pulled it over his legs and body, hugging his abdomen with both arms.’
      • ‘Kai was sitting on the ground, hugging her knees tightly.’
      • ‘He picked up Josie's limp body and hugged it to himself, she bled on him, but he didn't care.’
      • ‘He hunched his legs up to his body and hugged them tightly to his chest as the night wind tore across him.’
      • ‘She hugged her coat tightly to her body to keep from getting a chill.’
      • ‘He was busy trying to think of a potential plan when he heard a sniff and turned back around to find Laura hugging her knees tightly and biting her lip, hard.’
      • ‘She pulled her knees to her chest and hugged them tightly.’
      • ‘She curled up, hugging her knees tightly to her chest and Kara moved to help hold her in position.’
      embrace, clasp, cradle, fold, enfold, envelop, squeeze, hold tight, hold in one's arms
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    2. 1.2 Fit tightly around.
      ‘a pair of jeans that hugged the contours of his body’
      • ‘Her small purse draped over her right shoulder, her light blue shirt hugged at her slender figure and her jeans looked like they were suffocating her legs.’
      • ‘She'd gone with a dress that hugged her body so tightly that it showed off her pneumatic chest and flat stomach.’
      • ‘She came out five minutes later, wearing jeans that hugged her hips nicely and a windbreaker jacket that was black.’
      • ‘He will be wearing cargo pants and a body hugging singlet, with emphasis on his upper body.’
      • ‘I had also found a more suitable top, a black body hugging woollen skivvy.’
      • ‘New patented lift arms make sure the 18-inch reels hug almost any contour.’
      • ‘He tilted his head, admiring the view and the way her jeans hugged and pulled.’
      • ‘It was a slinky, body hugging number of the type originally made famous by Coco Channel.’
      • ‘The jean skirt was just above her knees and hugged her curves.’
      • ‘She looked gorgeous in her whitewashed jeans and curve hugging soft pink sweater.’
      • ‘Jeans hugged at their hips, with a matching t-shirt, which only revealed a tiny bit of skin.’
      • ‘She was dressed in washed-out blue jeans that seemed to hug all the right places.’
      • ‘She had black jeans that hugged her so perfectly that they showed off every curve in her beautiful body.’
      • ‘It can be stretched all out and long like in the picture or it can be scrunched up into a sexy body hugging mini dress.’
      • ‘As the pencil thin model draped in a body hugging kebaya walked in, the audience let out a collective cry.’
      • ‘The dress hugged her body tightly but gently; bringing out her full curves and luscious figure.’
    3. 1.3 Keep close to.
      ‘I headed north, hugging the coastline all the way’
      • ‘We took Highway 1 along the spectacular Pacific coast south of Monterey, the road hugging close to the cliffside.’
      • ‘The train crosses broad meadowlands before hugging the North Fork of the Payette River first on one side of the tracks, then on the other.’
      • ‘The Denver Universal Spaceport was right on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, hugging the Colorado Island coastline.’
      • ‘Because the coastguards needed to be able to investigate every cove and inlet along the way, the path hugs the coast closely.’
      • ‘It includes two passes over the classic Whaanga Coast test, which hugs the Tasman Sea coastline and is rated by many as the best stage in the entire championship.’
      keep close to, stay near to, follow closely, follow the course of
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    4. 1.4hug oneself Congratulate or be pleased with oneself.
      ‘she hugged herself with secret joy’
      • ‘I ask kp if he'll be okay walking the red house way alone and he shrinks in his seat and hugs himself: ‘Do I look very vulnerable?’’
      • ‘How would the new tabloids, still hugging themselves over improved sales figures, cope?’
      • ‘With this company, this will all change and the group hugging itself should whack a few pence on earnings per share.’
      • ‘What a pathetic spectacle it all made, and I wouldn't be surprised if Chris still hugs himself with pleasure in moments of stress at the thought of those cosy conflabs with his new found friend!’
      • ‘The mere promise of her approach is enough to have you hugging yourself with anticipation.’
      • ‘I think the one person who should be hugging himself with glee is the Defence Secretary.’
      • ‘It was winter, some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when the light is crisp and clean, and I remember hugging myself with the knowledge that I was in New York and nowhere else.’
      • ‘Paul thanks her a little too heartily, and as he leaves, she sighs and hugs herself and says ‘He's such a nice guy.’’
      • ‘Predictably, the owners of the two multiplexes in Bangalore are hugging themselves in glee.’
      • ‘Rocky told me the night before that he would be back again in two days to see me, and I was mentally hugging myself at the thought of seeing him again.’
      • ‘There's just something about a bunch of people charging around the woods with plastic swords pretending to kill/be monsters that makes me hug myself with glee.’
      • ‘Audiences love being allowed in on mistakes; they hug themselves with joy.’
      • ‘‘They're going to be so pleased,’ he thinks, hugging himself.’
      • ‘For a moment I just stood there, hugging myself with the realisation that I was here, and that I wasn't about to leave.’
      • ‘Your books, music and videos, the food in your fridge, the bass guitars, the pictures, they were all as I knew them, and I hugged myself with joy.’
      • ‘She sits in a wooden chair and hugs herself as she recounts the woes that have overridden her simple life, and take away any sense of a future with even a small measure of security.’
      • ‘Though, admittedly, it is easier to hug yourself when you pull in 58 percent of the vote after facing a presidential recall initiative.’
      • ‘I hugged myself with excitement as I finally told her the secret I'd been dying to tell her for the last few days.’
    5. 1.5 Cherish or cling to (something such as a belief)
      ‘a boy hugging a secret’
      • ‘He is proud of his ability to do this work by himself and tells about his day's routine — all the while hugging a secret that he will share with his family in the evening.’
      • ‘Alone on her mountain, Deanna is hugging a secret.’
      cling to, hold on to, cherish, harbour, nurture, nurse, foster, retain, maintain, keep in one's mind
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  • 1An act of holding someone tightly in one's arms, typically to express affection.

    ‘there were hugs and tears as they were reunited’
    • ‘Among the more salubrious consolations of the past months have been 5000 letters of support from the public and the unsolicited hugs of strangers.’
    • ‘I practically jumped over the seat to give her a huge hug, and immediately tears started rolling down my cheeks.’
    • ‘Claude stopped laughing and sat up besides her embracing her with a hug as the tears started to form again around her eyes.’
    • ‘They have held hands, dried tears, given hugs and listened.’
    • ‘She embraced her old friends in a tight hug, tears streaming from her eyes.’
    • ‘Last night my son was overtired, and needing a lot of hugs, his eyes tearing up from exhaustion and wanting his mom.’
    • ‘Alli broke the hug and dried her tears as she looked at her hands, folded in her lap.’
    • ‘We go through the motions, the meaningless hugs, the tears, the constant apologies.’
    • ‘A few hugs and tears are shed as we think back to when Lindsay was too ill to even get out of bed, and could not breathe on her own.’
    • ‘She so looked forward to his hugs, his smell and the scratch of his whiskers against her cheek.’
    • ‘Since he was a few inches taller than me, I jumped down from the hug and looked at him in the eye.’
    • ‘She stepped back from my hug whipping her tears from her face.’
    • ‘When my marriage ended, I promised her through our hugs and tears that I would never abandon her or Frank and they would always have access to their granddaughter Melissa.’
    • ‘Mr Adams spent time exchanging small talk and enjoying the good-humoured banter, signing autographs and receiving hugs and kisses.’
    • ‘She was pale and terribly weak, dropping to her knees as we caught her in a big hug while our tears covered our cheeks.’
    • ‘No applause could be heard, though hugs and tears were evident.’
    • ‘There had been tiffs and tears, hugs and kisses, but nothing so dramatic as what was to follow after most of them had left.’
    • ‘I was emotionally overcome to see them and after hugs and kisses and tears shed all round, we went back home.’
    • ‘There were many tears, and long hugs and kisses.’
    • ‘Some of the men had family in this town, they ran to them and there were hugs and kisses and tears of joy.’
    embrace, cuddle, squeeze, bear hug, hold, clasp, clutch, clinch, caress
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    1. 1.1 A squeezing grip in wrestling.
      • ‘The bear hug is a dominant position, with great control over the opponent, and is often a precursor to a takedown.’
      • ‘I will, for example grab my elder son around the neck and give him a wrestling hug but I will never do that with my daughters.’


Mid 16th century: probably of Scandinavian origin and related to Norwegian hugga ‘comfort, console’.