Difference Between Hug and Cuddle (With Table)

Human beings are generally considered social animals. They generally stick around their close ones, make love to them, make them feel special, share happiness, support them, and stood at the time of sorrow and pain.

Generally, the communication between two individuals does not require many words to explain, but some cute expressions, such as hugging and cuddling. Many people think that both the act of non-verbal communications, hugging and cuddling, is the same. But no, they have certain key differences between them as well.

Hug vs Cuddle

The difference between a hug and a cuddle is that a hug is a mutual form of the embrace between two people, which can be done as greeting, love, affection both personally and professionally. However, in the case of cuddle, it can be mutual or even can one-sided. Where one person gives love and affection to the other person who receives it. A hug can occur between any two individuals. However, cuddling occurs between couples and close people.

Love, brotherhood, sisterhood, friendship, warmth and affection can be expressed while hugging. This act can offer comfort, support and sympathy between each other. While greeting, two individuals can hug each other and hence greet each other. When two individuals want to hug, they both hug by in a position of standing. The level of intimacy in case the of a hug is not as high and intense as it is in the case of a cuddle. The act refers to a brief embrace between two people or can be done for a longer time between a couple.

Cuddling, the act of wrapping around each other’s body, is mainly associated with affection and love. This act does not indicate the act of support, comfort or sympathy. The act of greeting can not be done by cuddling. To cuddle, two close individuals need to sit together intimately or lie down closely. This is more intimate, affectionate and even intense than the act of hugging. It refers to a long embrace between two close individuals.

Comparison Table Between Hug and Cuddle

Parameters of ComparisonHugCuddle
Type of embrace Brief embrace Long embrace
Level of IntimacyA hug is not intense. Cuddle is more intense, intimate and affectionate.
PositionIt can be done only while standing. It can be done either by lying down or sitting together.
ExpressionLove, warmth, brotherhood, sisterhood, friendship, affection can be expressed.Mainly associated with affection and love, only.
Form of GreetingHug involves the act of greeting.Cuddling does not involve the act of greeting.
Sympathy and SupportOffers comfort, support or even sympathy. Does not offer comfort, support or sympathy.

What is Hug?

A hug is a type of nonverbal communication that involves physical intimacy. When two people put their arms on the other person’s back, neck or waist, it is referred to as hugging. Hug generally indicates familiarity, affection, love, friendship, brotherhood and sisterhood. However, hugging also indicates comfort, solidarity and even sometimes support.

It is sometimes done as an act of showing sympathy or congratulating. Some cultures include hugging as a common practice while greeting as well. But this kind of hugs generally does not indicate affection or love. It is purely professional. When the number of people involved is more than two while hugging, it is known as a group hug.

Hugging is generally done in the standing position. This act is normal for people of all age groups sharing various kinds of relationships. A mother can hug her kid, daughter, son; two siblings can hug each other. A grandmother can hug her grandchildren; a boyfriend can hug her girlfriend; a husband can hug her wife, children and thus so on.

However, hugs between a couple indicate love, lust, romance and sexual feelings. It can also be done as an act of acceptance as well.

What is Cuddle?

Cuddling is an act of physical intimacy that involves two people very closely wrapped around each other’s arms and body. Cuddling generally occurs between lovers and indicates a more intimate and affectionate bonding than hugging. However, it is also associated with the family members as well. Cuddling is generally done for a much longer period.

When two people sit together or lie down intimately, then cuddling occurs. Unlike again, cuddling cannot be found as an act of greeting or congratulating. It occurs only when two people share a very close relationship, such as the couples and a mother and her children. Cuddling is an indication of love, trust, similarity and belief.

Cuddling is not acceptable in any public places, as it is generally considered taboo, and the people doing it in the public area are considered criminals. When a mother takes care of her baby be the child for a long time till the baby falls asleep, it can be considered as cuddling between them. Generally, when two people love or like each other immensely, they cuddle is an indication of romance, affection and love.

Main Differences Between Hug and Cuddle

  1. Love, warmth, brotherhood, sisterhood, friendship, affection can be expressed via hug. Whereas a cuddle is mainly associated with affection and love only.
  2. A hug can offer comfort, support or even sympathy. Whereas cuddle does not indicate the act of comfort, support or sympathy.
  3. While greeting, two people can hug each other. However, greeting can not be done by cuddling.
  4. When two people want to hug, they need to be in a standing position. However, when two people lie down or sit together, cuddling occurs.
  5. The level of intimacy in a hug is not as intense as it is in the case of a cuddle. Cuddle is more affectionate, intimate and even intense.
  6. Hug refers to a brief embrace. On the other hand, a cuddle refers to a long embrace.


Hug and cuddle are two types of non-verbal communication between two individuals. These are the ways to express love, affection, respect, brotherhood towards another person by hugging or cuddling them. Both hug and cuddle are actions to show love, joy, support, trust, pain, and sorrow and are forms of physical intimacy. Two people hold onto each other to show affection and love.

Although these are very similar acts, still they differ from each other significantly. The main difference between the two acts being, hug indicates affection, love, sympathy, friendship, support and while greeting as well. In contrast, a cuddle mainly indicates affection and love between two close individuals.


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2003-04955-007
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1129529
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