Embrace

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Origins

OF. embrace-r (F. embrasser) = Pr. embrassar, It. imbracciare:{em}late L. *imbracchi{amac}re, f. in- in + bracchium (pl. bracchia see BRACE n.2) arm.]

Definitions

  • 1. trans. To clasp in the arms, usually as a sign of fondness or friendship.
b. Of sexual embraces.
c. As the typical mode of salutation between friends; to salute as a friend. Obs.
d. absol. (Chiefly with reciprocal sense.)

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  • 2. In various figurative uses. a. To compass, gain (an object of desire).
To worship (a deity). Obs. rare.
c. To accept (a person) as a friend; to welcome the services of (a person).
d. To accept gladly or eagerly; also, in weaker sense, to accept; now chiefly, to avail oneself of (an offer, opportunity, etc.).
e. To accept, submit to (death, adverse fortune) with resignation or fortitude.
f. To take to one's heart, cultivate (a virtue, disposition, etc.). Obs.
g. To adopt (a course of action, profession or calling, mode of life). Formerly also, to take (a road or course in travelling).
h. To adopt (a doctrine, opinions, religion, etc.); often with the notion ‘to accept joyfully’. Also, to attach oneself to (a party, cause, etc.).
i. To take (a matter) in hand; to undertake.
  • 3. To entwine, encircle, surround; to clasp, enclose. lit. and fig.
b. Of an event: ? To lay hold upon, touch (the heart). Obs. rare
c. intr. To wrap, circle about. Obs.
  • 4. Of things: To include, contain, comprise. So of persons: To include or comprise in.
  • 5. To take in with the eye or the mind; also with these as subject.

Description (Hug)

A hug is a form of physical intimacy that usually involves closing or holding the arms around another person or group of persons. The hug is one of the most common human signs of love and affection, along with kissing.[1] Unlike some other forms of physical intimacy, it is practiced publicly and privately without stigma in many countries, religions and cultures, within families, and also across age and gender lines.

Sometimes, hugs are a romantic exchange. Hugs may also be exchanged as a sign of support and comfort. A hug can be a demonstration of affection and emotional warmth, sometimes arising out of joy or happiness at meeting someone.

Brief in most cases, it is used to show many levels of affection. It is not particular to human beings alone, as there are many species of animals that engage in similar exchanges of warmth.

Hugging has been proven to have health benefits. One study has shown that hugs increase levels of oxytocin, and reduce blood pressure.[2]

There are different variations of hugs. Prolonged hugging in a cozy, comfortable position is called cuddling[3]. Spooning is a cuddling position, a kind of hugging when both the hugger and the hugged persons face the same direction, i.e., the front of one person is in contact with the back of the second one. The person whose front is in contact with the other's back is referred to as the "Big Spoon" and the person whose back is in contact with the other's front in referred to as the "Little Spoon". [4]

The New York Times has reported that "the hug has become the favorite social greeting when teenagers meet or part these days" in the United States.[5]

References

  1. Kathleen Keating (1994). The Hug Therapy Book. Hazelden PES. ISBN 1568380941.
  2. "How hugs can aid women's hearts". BBC News. August 8, 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4131508.stm. Retrieved 2008-11-28.
  3. "Cuddle", WordNet 3.0. Princeton University. Accessed 10 March 2008.
  4. Jim Grace, Lisa Goldblatt Grace (1998) "The Art of Spooning: A Cuddler's Handbook" ISBN 0762402709
  5. Kershaw, Sarah (2009-05-27). "For Teenagers, Hello Means 'How About a Hug?'". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/style/28hugs.html?_r=1&em. Retrieved 2009-05-29.