- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for tug on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for tugging
Even with all her comforts and a constant, tugging ennui, Mei knows the risks that she faces as an ernai.China’s Concubine Culture Lives On in Mistress Villages
April 14, 2014
Throughout, the investigation churns on, tugging us along with it.‘Broadchurch’ Is Great TV for Fans of ‘Downton Abbey,’ ‘Doctor Who,’ and ‘Prime Suspect’
August 7, 2013
Those images stayed with her, tugging at her, she says, to go back one day and help.A Fashionista’s India Dream: Indrani Changes the Fate of Forgotten Girls
July 10, 2012
The brain reigns supreme, tugging the mind along in its wake.'Free Will Debate: Who’s in Charge?' by Michael Gazzaniga (review)
November 19, 2011
There already is lots of pulling and tugging all over the map with little to show for it.We Just Saw the Future
Leslie H. Gelb
December 20, 2009
"I've been a fool," said Eileen, tugging at the pearls viciously.Her Father's Daughter
"It wasn't anything," said Grant shortly, tugging at a boot.Good Indian
B. M. Bower
Tugging at rope and at reef, while men weep and women swoon.Poems
William D. Howells
"I wish I could go with you," he cried, tugging at his white moustache.The Prisoner of Zenda
"Then come back now and tell her," said Diana, tugging at him as if to make him turn.Cleo The Magnificent
- (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 and History for tugging
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."