\ ˈtəg How to pronounce tug (audio) \
tugged; tugging

Definition of tug

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to pull hard
2 : to struggle in opposition : contend
3 : to exert oneself laboriously : labor

transitive verb

1 : to pull or strain hard at
2a : to move by pulling hard : haul
b : to carry with difficulty : lug
3 : to tow with a tugboat



Definition of tug (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : an act or instance of tugging : pull
b : a strong pulling force
2a : a straining effort
b : a struggle between two people or opposite forces
b : a short leather strap or loop
c : a rope or chain used for pulling

Definition of Tug (Entry 3 of 3)

tugrik, tugriks

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Other Words from tug


tugger noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for tug

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of tug in a Sentence

Verb I felt someone tugging on my sleeve. She tugged the cord until the plug came out of the wall socket. Noun He felt a gentle tug on his sleeve. gave the man in front a tug on his shirtsleeve as a sign that he was supposed to step aside
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There's emotional music and pretty star lanterns too, to really tug at those heartstrings. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "The 18 best holiday commercials of 2020," 10 Dec. 2020 On a walk-around of Epcot Thursday, park General Manager Kartika Rodriguez cheerfully reminded a man who had just finished his beer and was getting up to walk around to tug up his mask. Gabrielle Russon, orlandosentinel.com, "At Disney World, most people wear masks, but theme park scuffles still erupt over COVID-19 rule," 24 Nov. 2020 The doctor will firmly grasp a section of hair near the scalp and tug all the way down, repeating this around the head. Jolene Edgar, Allure, "You're Not Imagining It: The Pandemic Is Triggering Stress-Induced Hair Loss," 20 Nov. 2020 Move both ends of the string back up to the 12-o’clock position, gently tug, and pop the lock up. Andrew Northshield, Popular Mechanics, "How to Get Keys Out of a Locked Car," 19 Nov. 2020 Cutscenes and familiar geographies will tug lightly at your heartstrings. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity," 18 Nov. 2020 Whereas some models can tug up to 7650 pounds with the gas V-6, the Mojave's soft suspension limits it to 6000 pounds with the automatic. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "We Recruit a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave for Both Work and Play," 24 Nov. 2020 Then grab the car seat at the bottom where it is attached to the car and tug from side to side and front to back. Dallas News, "Holiday 2020: Top safety tips for vehicle travel during pandemic," 18 Nov. 2020 The story will tug on your heart, and the platforming mechanics will offer a serious challenge without becoming punishing to the player. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, "PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X: How to decide which one is right for you," 12 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Chinese vaccine has been at the center of a political tug of war between President Jair Bolsonaro and Mr. Doria, who is expected to try to wrest the presidency from the conserative ex-army captain in the 2022 elections. WSJ, "Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Death Toll Tops 300,000," 14 Dec. 2020 In the national interest Efraín Álvarez has scored just once in three seasons with the Galaxy, yet the teenager now finds himself at the center of a tug-of-war between Mexico, his parents’ home, and the U.S., where Álvarez was born. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "Soccer newsletter: Galaxy will see what could have been in MLS final," 8 Dec. 2020 But some on social media — including teammate Rejzohn Wright — have pointed to McKinley’s leg tug as a possible culprit. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Tristan Gebbia’s injury ‘significantly more serious’ than thought, Oregon State Beavers may turn to Chance Nolan vs. Utah," 1 Dec. 2020 Gorden's tug arrived half an hour later, along with several other small boats, to find the 656-foot (200-meter) ship on its side. Russ Bynum, Star Tribune, "`Smooth travel' observed before ship capsized off Georgia," 21 Sep. 2020 Still, Telahun felt the tug and pull of the virus in Sioux Falls. Los Angeles Times, "A tale of two cities: the cautious refugees hit by COVID-19 and those who call it a hoax and refuse masks," 18 Dec. 2020 Linemen dream of that moment -- a reverse tug of war with the same goal of physical domination. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "In age of explosive offenses, short-yardage trench battles still matter of pride," 11 Dec. 2020 For the past four years, a tug of war has been waged between the Texas Education Agency and the U.S. Department of Education. ExpressNews.com, "Express Briefing: Naked sushi photo violated policy, city review finds," 2 Dec. 2020 By the first week of October, doctors took the trach out with a simple tug to the adhesive holding it in. Maggie Menderski, courier-journal.com, "Inches from death, La Grange man spends 95 days in the hospital battling COVID-19," 24 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tug.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tug


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

History and Etymology for tug


Middle English tuggen; akin to Old English togian to pull — more at tow

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Time Traveler for tug

Time Traveler

The first known use of tug was in the 14th century

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Statistics for tug

Last Updated

18 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tug.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tug. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for tug


How to pronounce Tug (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tug

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to pull something with a quick, forceful movement



English Language Learners Definition of tug (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of pulling on something : a quick pull
: a strong pulling force


\ ˈtəg How to pronounce tug (audio) \
tugged; tugging

Kids Definition of tug

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to pull hard I tugged at the rope.
2 : to move by pulling hard : drag
3 : to tow with a tugboat



Kids Definition of tug (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of pulling hard : a hard pull She gave him a tug.
3 : a strong pulling force the tug of gravity
4 : a struggle between two people or forces


Medical Definition of tug

— see tracheal tug

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More from Merriam-Webster on tug

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tug

Nglish: Translation of tug for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tug for Arabic Speakers

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