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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.
1590s, from embrace (v.).