This provoked a thought: Em•bras•ser = to embrace Em -> in (corruption of 'en'?) bras -> arm ser -> (a standard verb ending or an abbreviation of serrer, maybe?) Literal? -> in-arms(-tighten)
Just a thought. Etymology is fun.
"em" is not a corruption of "en". "enb" is a difficult combination to say, so it naturally and predicably changes to "emb" since both /m/ and /b/ (and /p/) are labial sounds (use the lips), and /n/ isn't, being a nasal sound. This regular sound change happens for other vowels too that would otherwise be followed by "n":
Seeing coddled together structures like this for the French trying to say "hug" makes this sound like the language of robots, not romance. But I'm sure they see an equivalent amount of silliness for us of course
Apparently the French don't like to hug! At least not beyond close lovers, so this phrase kind of really makes sense when you have that in mind