Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search


Wikipedia has articles on:

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English embracen, from Old French embracier, equivalent to em- +‎ brace. Influenced by Middle English umbracen (to stretch out over, cover, engulf), from um- (around) + bracen (to brace).



embrace (third-person singular simple present embraces, present participle embracing, simple past and past participle embraced)

  1. To clasp in the arms with affection; to take in the arms; to hug.
  2. (obsolete) To cling to; to cherish; to love.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  3. To seize eagerly, or with alacrity; to accept with cordiality; to welcome.
    I wholeheartedly embrace the new legislation.
    • c. 1596, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act I, Scene 1,[3]
      I take it, your own business calls on you
      And you embrace the occasion to depart.
    • 1706, John Locke, Of the Conduct of the Understanding, London, 1741, §34, p. 88,[4]
      [] if a Man can be persuaded and fully assur’d of anything for a truth, without having examin’d what is there that he may not embrace for truth [] what means is there left to recover one who can be assur’d without examining?
  4. To accept; to undergo; to submit to.
  5. To encircle; to encompass; to enclose.
    • 1641, John Denham, “Coopers Hill” in Poems and Translations with the Sophy, London: H. Herringman, 1668, p. 14,[6]
      Low at his foot a spacious plain is plac’t,
      Between the mountain and the stream embrac’t:
    • 1697, John Dryden, (translator) The Works of Virgil, London: Jacob Tonson, The Second Book of the Georgics, p. 73,[7]
      Not that my song, in such a scanty space,
      So large a Subject fully can embrace:
  6. (figuratively) To enfold, to include (ideas, principles, etc.); to encompass.
    Natural philosophy embraces many sciences.
  7. (obsolete) To fasten on, as armour.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, London: William Ponsonbie, Book 2, Canto 1, p. 194,[8]
      Who seeing him from far so fierce to pricke,
      His warlike armes about him gan embrace,
  8. (law) To attempt to influence (a jury, court, etc.) corruptly, to practise embracery.
    • 1769, William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Dublin: John Exshaw et al., 1773, 5th edition, Volume 4, Chapter 10, p. 140,[9]
      The punishment for the person embracing is by fine and imprisonment; and, for the juror so embraced, if it be by taking money, the punishment is [] perpetual infamy, imprisonment for a year, and forfeiture of the tenfold value.




embrace (plural embraces)

  1. Hug (noun); putting arms around someone.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter I, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 24962326:
      [] a delighted shout from the children swung him toward the door again. His sister, Mrs. Gerard, stood there in carriage gown and sables, radiant with surprise. ¶ "Phil!  You!  Exactly like you, Philip, to come strolling in from the antipodes—dear fellow!" recovering from the fraternal embrace and holding both lapels of his coat in her gloved hands.
  2. (metaphorical) Enfolding, including.