1610s, a hold in wrestling, from hug (v.). Meaning "an affectionate embrace" is from 1650s.
1560s, hugge "to embrace, clasp with the arms," of unknown origin; perhaps from Old Norse hugga "to comfort," from hugr "courage, mood," from Proto-Germanic *hugjan, related to Old English hycgan "to think, consider," Gothic hugs "mind, soul, thought," and the proper name Hugh. Others have noted the similarity in some senses to German hegen "to foster, cherish," originally "to enclose with a hedge." Related: Hugged; hugging.
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