- to pull at with force, vigor, or effort.
- to move by pulling forcibly; drag; haul.
- to tow (a vessel) by means of a tugboat.
- to pull with force or effort: to tug at a stuck drawer.
- to strive hard; labor; toil.
Origin of tug
1175–1225; Middle English toggen to play-wrestle, contend; akin to Old English togian to tow1
Synonyms for tug
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- (when intr, sometimes foll by at) to pull or drag with sharp or powerful movementsthe boy tugged at the door handle
- (tr) to tow (a vessel) by means of a tug
- (intr) to work; toil
- a strong pull or jerkhe gave the rope a tug
- Also called: tugboat, towboat a boat with a powerful engine, used for towing barges, ships, etc
- a hard struggle or fight
- a less common word for trace 2 (def. 1)
Word Origin for tug
C13: related to Old English tēon to tow 1
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
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