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

to clasp tightly in the arms, especially with affection; embrace.
to cling firmly or fondly to; cherish: to hug an opinion.
to keep close to, as in sailing, walking, or in moving along or alongside of: to hug the shore; to hug the road.

verb (used without object), hugged, hug·ging.

to cling together; lie close.


a tight clasp with the arms; embrace.

Origin of hug

1560–70; perhaps < Old Norse hugga to soothe, console; akin to Old English hogian to care for
Related formshug·ger, nounhug·ging·ly, adverbun·hugged, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hug

Contemporary Examples of hug

Historical Examples of hug

  • And then Mike came tearing up and gave him a hug and a pat on the back.

  • If he be the man I take him for, he must hug an obstacle to his heart as a Heaven-sent gift.

    One Of Them

    Charles James Lever

  • Should they not hug their pillow as the friend of their bosom?

    Arthur O'Leary

    Charles James Lever

  • He became greatly alarmed, and got rid of his sister's hug definitely.

    A Set of Six

    Joseph Conrad

  • There's Barbara Lee, let's hug her—think how dreadful to have her go away.


    Jane Abbott

British Dictionary definitions for hug


verb hugs, hugging or hugged (mainly tr)

(also intr) to clasp (another person or thing) tightly or (of two people) to cling close together; embrace
to keep close to a shore, kerb, etc
to cling to (beliefs, etc); cherish
to congratulate (oneself); be delighted with (oneself)


a tight or fond embrace
Derived Formshuggable, adjectivehugger, noun

Word Origin for hug

C16: probably of Scandinavian origin; related to Old Norse hugga to comfort, Old English hogian to take care of
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 hug

1560s, hugge "to embrace," of unknown origin; perhaps from Old Norse hugga "to comfort," from hugr "courage, mood," from Proto-Germanic *hugjan, related to Old English hycgan "to think, consider," Gothic hugs "mind, soul, thought." Other have noted the similarity in some senses to German hegen "to foster, cherish," originally "to enclose with a hedge." Related: Hugged; hugging. The noun was originally (1610s) a hold in wrestling. Meaning "affectionate embrace" is from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper