• (RP) IPA: /ɛmˈbɹeɪs/, /ɪm-/
  • (GA) IPA: /ɛmˈbɹeɪs/, /əm-/

embrace (embraces, present participle embracing; past and past participle embraced)

  1. (transitive) To clasp#Verb|clasp (someone or each other) in the arm#Noun|arms with affection; to take in the arms; to hug#Noun|hug.
    Synonyms: fall on someone's neck, Thesaurus:embrace
    • c. 1597, [William Shakespeare], The History of Henrie the Fovrth; […], quarto edition, London: Printed by P[eter] S[hort] for Andrew Wise, […], published 1598, OCLC 932916628 ↗, [Act V, scene ii] ↗:
      I will imbrace him with a ſouldiour's arme, / That he ſhall ſhrinke vnder my curteſie, [...]
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Acts 20:1 ↗, column 1:
      And after the vprore was ceaſed, Paul called vnto him the diſciples, and imbraced them, & departed, for to go into Macedonia.
    • 1644, J[ohn] M[ilton], chapter VI, in The Doctrine or Discipline of Divorce: […] in Two Books: […], 2nd edition, London: [s.n.], OCLC 868004604 ↗, book I, page 14 ↗:
      [...] Love, though not wholly blind, as Poets wrong him, yet having but one eye, as being born an Archer aiming, and that eye not the quickeſt in this dark region here below, which is not Loves proper ſphere, partly out of the ſimplicity, and credulity which is native to him, often deceiv'd, imbraces and comforts him with theſe obvious and ſuborned ſtriplings, as if they were his Mothers own Sons, for ſo he thinks them, while they ſuttly keep themſelves moſt on his blind ſide.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book IV ↗”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗, lines 772–774:
      Theſe lulld by Nightingales imbraceing ſlept, / And on thir naked limbs the flourie roof / Showrd Roſes, which the Morn, repair'd.
    • 1843 December 18, Charles Dickens, “Stave Two. The First of the Three Spirits.”, in A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, London: Chapman & Hall, […], OCLC 55746801 ↗, page 54 ↗:
      She clapped her hands and laughed, and tried to touch his head; but being too little, laughed again, and stood on tiptoe to embrace him. Then she began to drag him, in her childish eagerness, towards the door; and he, nothing loth to go, accompanied her.
  2. (transitive, figuratively) To seize (something) eagerly or with alacrity; to accept or take up with cordiality; to welcome#Verb|welcome.
    I wholeheartedly embrace the new legislation.
    • c. 1596–1598, W[illiam] Shakespeare, The Excellent History of the Merchant of Venice. […] (First Quarto), [London]: Printed by J[ames] Roberts [for Thomas Heyes], published 1600, OCLC 24594216 ↗, [Act I, scene i] ↗:
      I take it your owne buſineſſe calls#English|cals on you, / And you embrace the occaſion to depart.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Hebrews 11:13 ↗, column 1:
      Theſe all died in faith, not hauing received the promiſes, but hauing ſeene them a farre off, and were perſwaded of them, and embraced them, and confeſſed that they were ſtrangers and pilgrims on the earth.
    • 1678, John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That which is to Come: […], London: Printed for Nath[aniel] Ponder […], OCLC 228725984 ↗; reprinted in The Pilgrim’s Progress (The Noel Douglas Replicas), London: Noel Douglas, […], 1928, OCLC 5190338 ↗, page 164 ↗:
      Let Ignorance a little while now muſe / On what is ſaid, and let him not refuſe / Good counſel to imbrace, leſt he remain / Still Ignorant of what's the chiefeſt gain.
    • 1820, Walter Scott, chapter XIII, in Ivanhoe; a Romance. [...] In Three Volumes, volume II, Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co. […], OCLC 230694662 ↗, page 227 ↗:
      Thou hast shown me the means of revenge, and be assured I will embrace them.
  3. (transitive, figuratively) To submit to; to undergo.
    Synonyms: accept
    • c. 1597, [William Shakespeare], The History of Henrie the Fovrth; […], quarto edition, London: Printed by P[eter] S[hort] for Andrew Wise, […], published 1598, OCLC 932916628 ↗, [Act V, scene v] ↗:
      What I haue done my ſafety vrg'd me to: / And I embrace this fortune patiently, / Since not to be auoided it fals on me.
  4. (transitive, also, figuratively) To encircle; to enclose, to encompass.
    Synonyms: entwine, surround
    • 1937, Robert Byron, “Gumbad-i-Kabus (200 ft.), April 24th”, in The Road to Oxiana, London: Macmillan & Co., OCLC 776568094 ↗, part V, page 228 ↗:
      But it was not this that conveyed the size of the steppe so much as the multiplicity of these nomadic encampments, cropping up wherever the eye rested, yet invariably separate by a mile or two from their neighbours. There were hundreds of them, and the sight, therefore, seemed to embrace hundreds of miles.
  5. (transitive, figuratively) To enfold, to include (ideas, principles, etc.); to encompass.
    Natural philosophy embraces many sciences.
    • 1697, “The Second Book of the {{w”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. […], London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 403869432 ↗, lines 59–60, page 73 ↗:
      Not that my ſong, in ſuch a ſcanty ſpace, / So large a Subject fully can embrace: [...]
  6. (transitive, obsolete, rare) To fasten on, as armour#Noun|armour.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], London: Printed [by John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938 ↗, book II, canto I, stanza 26, page 194 ↗:
      VVho ſeeing him from far ſo fierce to pricke, / His warlike armes about him gan embrace, / And in the reſt his ready ſpeare did ſticke; [...]
  7. (transitive, figuratively, obsolete) To accept (someone) as a friend#Noun|friend; to accept (someone's) help#Noun|help gladly.
    • c. 1608–1609, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene vii], page 25 ↗, column 1:
      He bears himſelfe more proudlier, / Euen to my perſon, then I thought he would / When firſt I did embrace him.
  8. (transitive, law, figuratively, obsolete) To attempt to influence#Verb|influence (a court#Noun|court, jury, etc.) corruptly; to practise embracery.
    • 1769, William Blackstone, “Of Offences against Public Justice”, in Commentaries on the Laws of England, book IV (Of Public Wrongs), Oxford: Printed at the Clarendon Press, OCLC 65350522 ↗, paragraph 18, page 140 ↗:
      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 (by divers ſtatutes of the reign of Edward III) perpetual infamy, impriſonment for a year, and forfeiture of the tenfold value.