Hug vs. Embrace

In this lesson, we'll work on the details between these two words. Are they really different? Or do they just look different?

"Hug" vs. "Embrace" in English

What Is Their Main Difference?

Both refer to pulling someone into our arms and showing them our love and respect. However, 'hug' is more casual and intimate whereas, 'embrace' is more formal. 'Hug' is a friendly act, whereas 'embrace' is much more formal.


As stated above, 'hug' is a friendly manner through which we show how much we love and care for someone. Look at the following examples:

Hugs are said to release serotonin hormones in the brain.

She pulled me into a hug and kissed me.

An 'embrace' is more formal and it can be done between people who are close, but not necessarily friends. It is stronger than a 'hug'. However, it can also be used in intimate contexts like between couples. Check out the following examples:

I still remember the feeling of his first embrace.

She dreamed of her embrace last night.


Both refer to pulling another person close to us and putting our arms around them. Through both, we show our love and respect. Look below:

Give a hug then, you cutie.

I wanted to embrace my son but he kept ignoring me for nor reason.

Are They Interchangeable?

In some formal contexts, it is better to use 'embrace'. However, most people use them interchangeably. Compare:

✓ Samantha misses his embraces.

✓ Samantha misses his hugs.


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