verb (used with object), bear-hugged, bear-hug·ging.

to greet with or hold in a bear hug: eager fans bear-hugging the victorious team.

Origin of bear-hug

First recorded in 1955–60

bear hug


a forcefully or heartily tight embrace.
Wrestling. a hold in which one contestant locks both arms around the other from the front in order to make the opponent fall backward.

Origin of bear hug

First recorded in 1920–25 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for bear-hug

embrace, hug, scissors, squeeze, enfoldment

Examples from the Web for bear-hug

Historical Examples of bear-hug

  • She was roused by Helen Barrett's bear-hug of congratulations.

    Wanted: A Husband

    Samuel Hopkins Adams

  • Mike grabbed him and lifted him in a bear-hug, scratching himself unmercifully on the little Martian's sharp scales.

    Before Egypt

    E. K. Jarvis

  • Although for months he had been expecting just such news Ulick couldn't repress a long whistle; then he gave her a bear-hug.

    Painted Veils

    James Huneker

  • A great, happy "bear-hug" almost choked him, as Phil's arms were clasped about his neck.

    The Story of Dago

    Annie Fellows-Johnston

  • Frederick Augustus came running into my room and gave me a bear-hug.

British Dictionary definitions for bear-hug

bear hug


a wrestling hold in which the arms are locked tightly round an opponent's chest and arms
any similar tight embrace
commerce an approach to the board of one company by another to indicate that an offer is to be made for their shares
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 bear-hug

bear hug


1876, from bear (n.) + hug (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper