Origin of tugboat

An Americanism dating back to 1820–30; tug + boat
Also called towboat, tug.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tugboat

Contemporary Examples of tugboat

  • A tugboat improbably sits high on the bank, obscured by tall grass, a broken oil rig hangs over the water nearby.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Congo's Forgotten Colonial Getaway

    Nina Strochlic

    December 18, 2014

  • After airstrikes began, Libyan armed men seized an Italian tugboat in Tripoli used to service the coastal oil platforms.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Italy's Refugee Camp Horror

    Barbie Latza Nadeau

    March 21, 2011

Historical Examples of tugboat

  • It was an odd defiance, a tugboat's challenge to a German battle line.

  • Martella, I am now ready to join you in capturing the tugboat.

    Up the Forked River

    Edward Sylvester Ellis

  • In fact, it was impossible for them to have done so, but there could be no doubt that they were all on the tugboat.

    Up the Forked River

    Edward Sylvester Ellis

  • No attempt was made on the tugboat to bring the second piece into action.

    Up the Forked River

    Edward Sylvester Ellis

  • This was followed by a cloud of steam that seemed to completely envelop the tugboat.

    Randy of the River

    Horatio Alger Jr.

Word Origin and History for tugboat

1832, from tug (n.) + boat (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper