tug of war
- an athletic contest between two teams at opposite ends of a rope, each team trying to drag the other over a line.
- a hard-fought, critical struggle for supremacy.
Origin of tug of war
Related Words for tug-of-warfight, duel, clash, antagonism, contest, jealousy, strife, race, struggle, encounter, event, conflict, tug-of-war, matchup, combat, discord, fighting, battle, rivalry, war
Examples from the Web for tug-of-war
Contemporary Examples of tug-of-war
Many states are caught up in a tug-of-war between the will of law enforcement and concerned citizens and legislators.On the Home Front, Drones Are Quickly Shot Down by States
March 9, 2013
It was after one of his nights with Rachel that the tug-of-war over Josh turned deadly.Mean Girls Love-Triangle Murder
August 6, 2010
The Obama team lets Congress take the lead and there, the lobbyists play their game of tug-of-war with the public interest.Obama's Impossibly Complex Win
May 21, 2010
In the novel, the tug-of-war over purity is never fully resolved either.Have Washington's Rules Changed?
February 10, 2009
Historical Examples of tug-of-war
It was the tug-of-war being played with a life as the stakes.Auld Licht Idylls
J. M. Barrie
The tug-of-war team, of which I was a member, was quite as successful as the oarsmen.Through St. Dunstan's to Light
James H. Rawlinson
It had all the characteristics of a tug-of-war, and irresistibly he was drawn over the line.The Place of Honeymoons
They were having a tug-of-war and it was hardly a fair battle.Madge Morton's Victory
Amy D.V. Chalmers
The girls organized themselves into a tug-of-war team (Fig. 293).
- a contest in which two people or teams pull opposite ends of a rope in an attempt to drag the opposition over a central line
- any hard struggle, esp between two equally matched factions
tug of war
A struggle for supremacy, as in There's a constant political tug of war between those who favor giving more power to the states and those who want a strong federal government. Although there is an athletic contest also so named, in which participants holding either end of a rope try to pull each other across a dividing line, the present usage, first recorded in 1677, predates it by about two centuries. The noun tug itself means “a strenuous contest between two sides,” and war refers to fighting, either physical or figurative.