Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Word of the Year is...

tug

[tuhg] /tʌg/
verb (used with object), tugged, tugging.
1.
to pull at with force, vigor, or effort.
2.
to move by pulling forcibly; drag; haul.
3.
to tow (a vessel) by means of a tugboat.
verb (used without object), tugged, tugging.
4.
to pull with force or effort:
to tug at a stuck drawer.
5.
to strive hard; labor; toil.
noun
6.
an act or instance of tugging; pull; haul.
7.
a strenuous contest between opposing forces, groups, or persons; struggle:
the tug of young minds in a seminar.
8.
9.
that by which something is tugged, as a rope or chain.
10.
  1. trace2 (def 1).
  2. any of various supporting or pulling parts.
Origin of tug
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English toggen to play-wrestle, contend; akin to Old English togian to tow1
Related forms
tugger, noun
tugless, adjective
untugged, adjective
Synonyms
1. yank, jerk, wrench.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for tugging
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • David pulled the bolts back swiftly, and tugging at the door dragged it open, keeping himself well within the passage.

    Under the Chinese Dragon F. S. Brereton
  • "But well for no one else, my idol," said Pepe, tugging away at the strap.

    Rita Laura E. Richards
  • "His fruit-shop—and—oh, I forgot—" She reached into the little bag at her side, tugging at something.

    Mr. Achilles Jennette Lee
  • Standing upright on the rudder-bar, I felt the tugging of the shoulder-straps.

    High Adventure James Norman Hall
  • Close by in the greensward an absurd pet lamb was tugging and bouncing at the end of its stingy tether.

    The Sick-a-Bed Lady Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
British Dictionary definitions for tugging

tug

/tʌɡ/
verb tugs, tugging, tugged
1.
when intr, sometimes foll by at. to pull or drag with sharp or powerful movements: the boy tugged at the door handle
2.
(transitive) to tow (a vessel) by means of a tug
3.
(intransitive) to work; toil
noun
4.
a strong pull or jerk: he gave the rope a tug
5.
Also called tugboat, towboat. a boat with a powerful engine, used for towing barges, ships, etc
6.
a hard struggle or fight
7.
a less common word for trace2 (sense 1)
Derived Forms
tugger, noun
Word Origin
C13: related to Old English tēon to tow1
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for tugging

tug

v.

early 13c., from weak grade of Old English teohan "to pull, drag," from Proto-Germanic *teukh- "pull," from PIE *deuk- "to pull, to lead" (see duke (n.)). Related to tow (v.). Related: Tugged; tugging.

n.

c.1500, from tug (v.). Meaning "small steamer used to tow other vessels" is recorded from 1817. Phrase tug of war (1670s) was originally figurative, "the decisive contest, the real struggle."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for tug

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for tugging

10
15
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for tugging