"a hug," 1590s, from embrace (v.). Earlier noun was embracing (late 14c.). Middle English embrace (n.) meant "bribery."
mid-14c., "clasp in the arms," from Old French embracier (12c., Modern French embrasser) "clasp in the arms, enclose; covet, handle, cope with," from assimilated form of en- "in" (see en- (1)) + brace, braz "the arms," from Latin bracchium (neuter plural brachia) "an arm, a forearm," from Greek brakhion "an arm" (see brachio-). Related: Embraced; embracing; embraceable. Replaced Old English clyppan (see clip (v.2)), also fæðm (see fathom (v.)). Sexual sense is from 1590s.
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