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verb (used with object), em·braced, em·brac·ing.
  1. to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.
  2. to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly: to embrace an idea.
  3. to avail oneself of: to embrace an opportunity.
  4. to adopt (a profession, a religion, etc.): to embrace Buddhism.
  5. to take in with the eye or the mind.
  6. to encircle; surround; enclose.
  7. to include or contain: An encyclopedia embraces a great number of subjects.
verb (used without object), em·braced, em·brac·ing.
  1. to join in an embrace.
  1. an act or instance of embracing.

Origin of embrace1

1300–50; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French embracier, equivalent to em- em-1 + bracier to embrace, derivative of brace the two arms; see brace
Related formsem·brace·a·ble, adjectiveem·brace·ment, nounem·brac·er, nounun·em·brace·a·ble, adjective


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2. adopt, espouse, welcome. 3. seize. 7. comprise, cover, embody. See include.


7. exclude.


verb (used with object), em·braced, em·brac·ing. Law.
  1. to attempt to influence (a judge or jury) through corrupt means.

Origin of embrace2

1400–1450; late Middle English: to influence, prejudice, bribe (a jury), perhaps the same word as embrace1, influenced by embrasen to set on fire (< Middle French embraser; see em-1, braise)
Related formsem·brac·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for embracing


verb (mainly tr)
  1. (also intr) (of a person) to take or clasp (another person) in the arms, or (of two people) to clasp each other, as in affection, greeting, etc; hug
  2. to accept (an opportunity, challenge, etc) willingly or eagerly
  3. to take up (a new idea, faith, etc); adoptto embrace Judaism
  4. to comprise or include as an integral partgeology embraces the science of mineralogy
  5. to encircle or enclose
  1. the act of embracing
  2. (often plural) euphemistic sexual intercourse
Derived Formsembraceable, adjectiveembracement, nounembracer, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old French embracier, from em- + brace a pair of arms, from Latin bracchia arms


  1. (tr) criminal law to commit or attempt to commit embracery against (a jury, etc)

Word Origin

C15: back formation from embraceor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for embracing



1590s, from embrace (v.).



mid-14c., from Old French embracer (12c., Modern French embrasser) "clasp in the arms, enclose; covet, handle, cope with," from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + brace, braz "the arms," from Latin bracchium (neuter plural brachia); see brace (n.). Related: Embraced; embracing; embraceable. Replaced Old English clyppan, also fæðm.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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