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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


[bair-huhg] /ˈbɛərˌhʌg/
verb (used with object), bear-hugged, bear-hugging.
to greet with or hold in a bear hug:
eager fans bear-hugging the victorious team.
1955-60 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bear hug
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He clapped his arms around me at once and gave me a bear hug.

    Paradise Garden George Gibbs
  • Georgie came and was received with a bear hug and a shower of kisses.

    Thankful's Inheritance Joseph C. Lincoln
  • "We've lost a lot of time, I'm afraid," said Ethelwyn after they had given her a bear hug and a kiss.

    What Two Children Did Charlotte E. Chittenden
  • How are your ribs feeling, after that bear hug you got this afternoon?

  • Never mind your cap; I must give you a bear hug, if I die for it.

    A College Girl Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • With that he shakes me by both hands, gives me a bear hug, and rushes off.

    The House of Torchy Sewell Ford
  • Then over their own clasping had come the man's bear hug and little laughs and screams from her pretty mother.

    Under the Law Edwina Stanton Babcock
  • The Rough Red jerked him to his feet, delivered a bear hug that nearly crushed his ribs, and pounded him mightily on the back.

    The Riverman Stewart Edward White
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
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Word Origin and History for bear hug

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bear hug

bear hug

noun phrase

  1. A crushing embrace (1930s+)
  2. A takeover bid so enticing that directors are forced to accept it (1970s+ Business)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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