Difference Between Hug and Cuddle

Main Difference – Hug vs Cuddle

Hug and cuddle are both form of physical intimacy. Although both these involve holding someone closely to show love and affection, there is a difference between hug and cuddle. Hug is indicative love, affection, friendship, sympathy, support, comfort, and it is also used as a form of greeting. In contrast, cuddle is mainly indicative of love and affection. The main difference between hug and cuddle is that cuddle is more intimate and affectionate than hug.

Difference Between Hug and Cuddle- infographic

What is a Hug

A hug is a form of physical intimacy which acts as a form of nonverbal communication. Hugging refers to two people putting their arms around one another’s neck, back, or waist and holding each other closely. Hug is an indication of familiarity, love, affection, friendship and brotherhood. It can also be an indication of support, comfort or solidarity. Hugging can also be an offering of sympathy.

In some cultures, hugging is a form of greeting. So, this type of hug does not indicate love and affection. You usually hug a person when you are in a standing position. If there are more than two people involved in a hug, it is called a group hug.

A hug can take place between people of all ages who share different relationships; it can take place between mother and son, two siblings, friends, grandmother and granddaughter, husband and wife, etc. For example, if your friend lost her mother, you’d give her a hug to offer her comfort and sympathy. But, a hug between a couple can be indicative of romantic and sexual feelings.

Main Difference - Hug vs Cuddle

What is a Cuddle

Cuddle is also a form of physical intimacy. Cuddling includes two people holding one another with each person’s arms wrapped around the other’s body. Cuddling is more affectionate and intimate than hugging and is usually associated with lovers and family members. It is also done for a longer period of time.

Cuddling happens when two people who are lying down together or sitting in an intimate manner. Unlike hugging, cuddling is not used as a form of greeting. It is only shared between people in a very close relationship such as mother and children, and couples.

Difference Between Hug and Cuddle

Difference Between Hug and Cuddle


Hug is an expression of love, affection, warmth, friendship, and brotherhood.

Cuddle is mainly an expression of love and affection.

Sympathy and Support

Hug can offer sympathy, comfort, and support.

Cuddle is not indicative of sympathy, comfort or support.

Form of Greeting

Hug is used as a form of greeting.

Cuddle is not used as a form of greeting.


Hugging happens when tow people are in a standing position.

Cuddle happens when tow people are in a lying down or sitting down

Level of Intimacy

Hug is not as intense, affectionate and intimate as a cuddle.

Cuddle is more intense, affectionate and intimate as a cuddle.

Image Courtesy:

“Free Hugs” by Ricardo Moraleida  via

“Cuddle” by Morten Amundsen  via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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