Definition of hug in English:

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Pronunciation: /hʌɡ/

verb (hugs, hugging, hugged)

[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
More example sentences
  • He turned around to face her and she drew closer to him, hugging him tightly, kissing him on the cheek.
  • He hugged me tightly, kissed me and I'm sure he smelled my hair as he rubbed my back.
  • I smiled and squeezed the person that was hugging me affectionately.
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/press someone to one's bosom
literary embosom
1.1Hold (something) tightly around or against part of one’s body: he hugged his knees to his chest
More example sentences
  • He hunched his legs up to his body and hugged them tightly to his chest as the night wind tore across him.
  • Angstrom pulls his legs up close to his body, hugging them tightly.
  • She quickly crawled against the railing and sobbed, grabbing her knees against her, hugging it tightly for comfort.
1.2Fit tightly round: a pair of jeans that hugged the contours of his body
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • He tilted his head, admiring the view and the way her jeans hugged and pulled.
1.3Keep close to: I headed north, hugging the coastline all the way left-winger Stewart hugged the touchline the car hugs the road, cornering neatly
More example sentences
  • We took Highway 1 along the spectacular Pacific coast south of Monterey, the road hugging close to the cliffside.
  • 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.
  • The Denver Universal Spaceport was right on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, hugging the Colorado Island coastline.
keep close to, stay near to, follow closely, follow the course of
1.4 (hug oneself) Congratulate or be pleased with oneself: she hugged herself with secret joy
More example sentences
  • ‘They're going to be so pleased,’ he thinks, hugging himself.
  • 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?’
  • 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.
1.5Cherish or cling to (something such as a belief): a boy hugging a secret
More example sentences
  • 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


1An act of hugging someone: there were hugs and tears as they were reunited
More example sentences
  • We go through the motions, the meaningless hugs, the tears, the constant apologies.
  • She stepped back from my hug whipping her tears from her face.
  • There had been tiffs and tears, hugs and kisses, but nothing so dramatic as what was to follow after most of them had left.
embrace, cuddle, squeeze, bear hug, hold, clasp, clutch, clinch, caress
1.1A squeezing grip in wrestling.
Example sentences
  • 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.



Example sentences
  • Yet there are too many links in that chain, too many supply-and-demand issues going on here, to make this the kind of huggable issue that attracts celebrities.
  • That is not a formula for finding a beautiful wife, but a warm, huggable wife who might be pretty enough.
  • A year later, halfway through grade 12, promises of that vehicle arrived in the form of a concrete fortress squatting atop a mountain - the sterile yet huggable campus of Simon Fraser University.


Example sentences
  • I yawned constantly, and yet could not sleep; I hugged myself imagining it was Harry's bear-like hug - such a brilliant hugger, often lifting me off my feet to stretch my backbone.
  • We've become the therapeutic nation of huggers and fondlers.
  • I'd pick out those I thought would be the exuberant huggers, the proper handshakers or the ones who never touch at all.


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

Words that rhyme with hug

bug, chug, Doug, drug, dug, fug, glug, jug, lug, mug, plug, pug, rug, shrug, slug, smug, snug, thug, trug, tug

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: hug

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