/ab·bràc·cio/ [a’b:ratʃ:o] “uh-bbruh-tcho”

Words by Bianca Pirrelli


The most popular definition for the etymology of the word abbraccio is its derivation from the Italian word braccio – literally arm. It refers to the gesture of putting your arms around someone in order to express affection. Adding to that, the prefix “a-” – of Latin descent – hints at the meaning of proximity, contact, reach.


Abbraccio is the Italian substantive which means hug. It literally describes the action of putting someone’s arm around someone or something. We usually hug someone surrounding them with our embrace, our bodies are close together and we express affection. Whether it is for friendship or love, hugging someone is one of the most popular gestures of care.

This word in Italian not only refers to a hug between people, but it can also involve a more metaphorical meaning. Think about sunbathing: the sun is actually “hugging” us with its warmth. Warmth, as well as affection, are key words for the broad meaning of abbraccio.

If we consider its verbal form, the word abbracciare goes beyond the literal hug. It means embracing a specific faith, for example, or an ideology, a profession, a mission, etc. You accept and welcome something with open arms and you make it yours. You embrace it.

Lastly, we cannot forget to mention food! When dealing with the Italian language, there is always a sweet connection with food, one way or another. In this case Abbracci (plural form of the substantive) is the name of a popular type of cookie in Italy.

Even though we currently long for this type of connection and contact, we must stay strong and stay safe, knowing that we will share an abbraccio soon. And it will be better than ever.

Word: Abbraccio

Original photo by Anna Shvets


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