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verb (used with object), lugged, lug·ging.
  1. to pull or carry with force or effort: to lug a suitcase upstairs.
  2. to introduce or interject in an inappropriate or irrelevant manner: to lug personalities into a discussion of philosophy.
  3. (of a sailing ship) to carry an excessive amount of (sail) for the conditions prevailing.
verb (used without object), lugged, lug·ging.
  1. to pull or tug laboriously.
  2. (of an engine or machine) to jerk, hesitate, or strain: The engine lugs when we climb a steep hill.
  1. an act or instance of lugging; a forcible pull; haul.
  2. a wooden box for transporting fruit or vegetables.
  3. Slang. a request for or exaction of money, as for political purposes: They put the lug on him at the office.

Origin of lug1

1300–50; Middle English luggen < Scandinavian; compare Norwegian lugge, Swedish lugga to pull by the hair
Related formsun·lugged, adjective


  1. a projecting piece by which anything is held or supported.
  2. a ridge or welt that helps to provide traction, as on a tire or the sole of a shoe.
  3. Masonry. either of the ends of a lug sill.
  4. Carpentry. (in a double-hung window) one of a pair of projections extending downward from the ends of the meeting rail of the upper sash.
  5. a leather loop hanging down from a saddle, through which a shaft is passed for support.
  6. Shipbuilding. clip2(def 6).
  7. Slang.
    1. an awkward, clumsy fellow.
    2. a blockhead.
    3. a man; guy.

Origin of lug2

1485–95; < Scandinavian; compare Norwegian, Swedish lugg forelock. See lug1


  1. lugsail.

Origin of lug3

by shortening


  1. lugworm.

Origin of lug4

1595–1605; earlier lugg; perhaps special use of lug2


  1. an ancient Irish god, probably a solar deity.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lug

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Really, for an old man, you must have had a heavy job to lug it along.

    Other Tales and Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • I'll fetch those clams ashore if I have to lug 'em with my teeth.

    Keziah Coffin

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • That's Grey Graham, setting folk by the lug with his blusteration.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • "Gi'e him a slab ower the lug," shouted the miller from the road.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • You're not going to be so foolish as to lug that baby along?

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

British Dictionary definitions for lug


verb lugs, lugging or lugged
  1. to carry or drag (something heavy) with great effort
  2. (tr) to introduce (an irrelevant topic) into a conversation or discussion
  3. (tr) (of a sailing vessel) to carry too much (sail) for the amount of wind blowing
  1. the act or an instance of lugging

Word Origin

C14: probably from Scandinavian; apparently related to Norwegian lugge to pull by the hair


  1. a projecting piece by which something is connected, supported, or lifted
  2. Also called: tug a leather loop used in harness for various purposes
  3. a box or basket for vegetables or fruit with a capacity of 28 to 40 pounds
  4. Scot and Northern English dialect another word for ear 1
  5. slang a man, esp a stupid or awkward one

Word Origin

C15 (Scots dialect) lugge ear, perhaps related to lug 1 (in the sense: to pull by the ear)


  1. nautical short for lugsail


  1. short for lugworm

Word Origin

C16: origin uncertain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lug


late 14c., "to move (something) heavily or slowly," from Scandinavian (cf. Swedish lugga, Norwegian lugge "to pull by the hair"); see lug (n.). Related: Lugged; lugging.


1620s, "handle of a pitcher," from lugge (Scottish) "earflap of a cap, ear" (late 15c.; according to OED, the common word for "ear" in 19c. Scotland), probably from Scandinavian (cf. Swedish lugg "forelock," Norwegian lugg "tuft of hair"). The connecting notion is "something that can be gripped and pulled." Applied 19c. to mechanical objects that can be grabbed or gripped. Meaning "stupid fellow" is from 1924; that of "lout, sponger" is 1931, American English. Cf. lug-nut (1869), nut closed at one end as a cap.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper