What is the meaning of "with big hugs and kisses" in the following sentence (source: UP, UP AND AWAY Susie),

"At the arrival area, Susie and her parents pick up their luggage. Susie watches all the different suitcases ride along the carousel. "Here come ours!" she shouts. They find Susie's grandparents waiting with big hugs and kisses. "How did you like your first ride in the sky Susie?" they ask.

Does "They find Susie's grandparents waiting with big hugs and kisses" mean "They find that Susie's grandparents are waiting with open their arms and pushing their lips forward"?

  • 3
    Would you also have difficulty understanding They find Susie's grandparents waiting with donuts and hot coffee, for example? May 3, 2018 at 13:26
  • hmm. your example is very easy to understand it. But to hug and Kiss somebody, we must not wait each other far away but contact each other. therefore, the phrase "with big hugs and kisses" in the sentence is confused at me.
    – user22046
    May 3, 2018 at 13:56
  • You are not in the position of the learner, but in the position of the person you already know. In my opinion, you do not seem to be very interested in what the learners do not know. Maybe someday you will be in a position to learn. It's a world that turns around. Anyway, I did not know, so I just asked. I can not understand what you are going to say.
    – user22046
    May 3, 2018 at 14:09
  • 2
    You haven't answered my question. Did you in fact understand my structurally identical example immediately? If so, what exactly is it about your cited example that causes problems? What about They were waiting with open arms? As you say, I'm not a learner, so it's not easy for me to see why you might understand some of these examples, but not others (which appears to be the case). Simply telling you what your specific example means doesn't seem particularly useful to me, because it probably won't resolve future problems you may have with similar constructions. May 3, 2018 at 14:50
  • I don't think this question is answerable with a dictionary. There is no reason to close it. However, the poster should try to elaborate on the difficulty. May 4, 2018 at 19:49

5 Answers 5


"To find someone waiting" is often expressed like this:

find them waiting with open arms.

Here, the writer is being creative and substituting "big hugs and kisses" for something like "open arms".

It is not literal and it means when they came up to grandparents, the grandparents gave them kisses and hugs. To wait for someone with open arms is a cliché. Writers are supposed to avoid those. This does.


It's showing endearment and love. You aren't necessarily meant to picture that they're standing there already, arms wide open and making smooch noises at the air as strangers watch. Rather, when Suzy arrived, they were happy and immediately got to hugging and kissing to welcome her.


Not exactly, it's more likely that when Susie came up to the grandparents, they each gave her a hug and a kiss, rather than just standing there with their arms outstretched and lips puckered.

This expression is usually a little exaggerated, it's more just to show you that the grandparents love Susie.


I absolutely agree with @Lambie on the author's attempt to avoid using the clichéd phrase "with open arms".

From what I could find the device used may be called "pimping a cliché", the verb pimp meaning to make something (here the cliché) more showy or impressive (also meaning to decorate - to make something look fashionable or impressive, usually by adding things, here - some new details).

Indeed, as a phrase once evoking a clear visual image, nowadays "with open arms" meaning "very happily and eagerly" doesn't create the image of someone standing with their arms ready to embrace someone.

On the other hand, the cliché, having been pimped by adding some details into a freshly used metaphor (waiting with big hugs and kisses), doesn't seem so trite as the "with open arms" phrase.

(The source)

  • That's funny. I would have thought that primping would be better than pimping up. :). I think you need the up in either case.
    – Lambie
    May 3, 2018 at 17:55
  • @Lambie-To me, this seems to be the case the cure is not needed; trying to invent something that might be thought original to replace a common, yet somewhat well-worn phrase to me, again, seems sort of putting on airs. Please correct me if I'm mistaken
    – Victor B.
    May 3, 2018 at 18:39
  • Actually, not according to most creative writing people.
    – Lambie
    May 3, 2018 at 19:43
  • Not really. He gave a structurally identical example. I often do that, too. But in this case, that is not the point I was trying to get across.
    – Lambie
    May 3, 2018 at 20:13

The grandparents have in their possession an unspecified quantity of hugs and kisses, which they took with them to the airport. They have been waiting with these hugs and kisses for the opportunity to distribute them to Susie.

"Hug" and "kiss" are verbs, but "hugs" and "kisses" are nouns, so waiting with hugs and kisses would be the same as if you were waiting with some other nouns. For example, "Her grandparents were waiting with big [boots] and [umbrellas]"

  • Are you being funny? Because it is sort of comical, the way you describe this.
    – Lambie
    May 3, 2018 at 17:56
  • @Lambie I am being funny and completely serious :)
    – user9320
    May 3, 2018 at 18:21
  • Well, it might be difficult for a ELLer to understand the irony.
    – Lambie
    May 3, 2018 at 22:54

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