July 22, 2012
embrace (noun)
\im-BRAYSS\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a close encircling with the arms
How do you use it?
"The door burst open and Nick Chopper rushed into their midst and caught the Scarecrow in a close and loving embrace that creased him into many folds and wrinkles." (L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz)
Are you a word wiz?

L. Frank Baum used the noun "embrace" in his magical stories of Oz. But Baum was not the first author to use it. Which of the famous writers below do you think was the first to use the word "embrace" as a noun?

If you embraced B as the answer, you were right. William Shakespeare was responsible for first using the noun "embrace." It made its earliest appearance in his play 1 Henry VI, where the Duke of Burgundy says, "Forgive me, country, and sweet countrymen, / And, lords, accept this hearty kind embrace." Shakespeare took the noun from the verb "embrace," which had been around since the 1300s. That verb is from the Middle French word "embracer," which developed from a combination of the prefix "en-," meaning "into," and the word "brace," meaning "two arms."
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