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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.
    • Shakespeare
      I will embrace him with a soldier's arm, / That he shall shrink under my courtesy.
    • Bible, Acts xx. 1
      Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them.
  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.
    • Shakespeare
      You embrace the occasion.
    • John Locke
      What is there that he may not embrace for truth?
  4. To accept; to undergo; to submit to.
    • Shakespeare
      I embrace this fortune patiently.
  5. To encircle; to encompass; to enclose.
    • Dryden
      Not that my song, in such a scanty space, / So large a subject fully can embrace.
    • Denham
      Low at his feet a spacious plain is placed, / Between the mountain and the stream embraced.
  6. (figuratively) To enfold, to include (ideas, principles, etc.); to encompass.
    Natural philosophy embraces many sciences.
  7. To fasten on, as armour.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)
  8. (law) To attempt to influence (a jury, court, etc.) corruptly.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Blackstone to this entry?)




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.