1560s, hugge "to embrace," 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." Other have noted the similarity in some senses to German hegen "to foster, cherish," originally "to enclose with a hedge." Related: Hugged; hugging. The noun was originally (1610s) a hold in wrestling. Meaning "affectionate embrace" is from 1650s.