\ 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
3 : tugboat
b : a short leather strap or loop
c : a rope or chain used for pulling

Definition of Tug (Entry 3 of 3)

tugrik, tugriks

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Jackson would eventually be joined by nine others — all jumpsuited — for a pastiche of jazzy, soulful moves that tug at the diasporic roots of Ailey’s modern dance. Lauren Warnecke, chicagotribune.com, 3 Mar. 2022 This tech fabric covering from Mystery Ranch features bands that go over the head instead of loops that tug on your ears. The Editors, Outside Online, 31 July 2020 Really, after two years of working from home in day dresses and athleisure, who wants to be flat on their back trying to tug up a super-skinny jean? Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 14 Apr. 2022 This first look sported giant statement shoulders and tubular arms, while its big flappy belt looked almost poised to tug the coat open sensually. Thomas Adamson, ajc, 7 Mar. 2022 So go ahead — tug on the ribbon, and join us for a delicious cup of stimulation. Ed Silverman, STAT, 9 Apr. 2022 War bonds aim to tug at emotions by appealing to one’s sense of patriotic duty at a time of need and typically are sold to retail investors at home. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 2 Mar. 2022 While the style, capabilities, and economics of filmmaking have changed a lot over the past 40 years, the Academy Awards have long favored stories that are fundamentally about people, particularly ones that tug at the heartstrings. Noah Millman, The Week, 28 Feb. 2022 Writer/director Sian Heder’s crowd-pleaser will tug at your heartstrings thanks to this likable family rooting on each other, seen in Troy Kotsur’s emotionally honest portrayal of a father working to understand his daughter’s dream. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, 24 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That gas grew denser in some places and more rarefied in others as the tug of gravity competed with cosmic expansion, and the densest regions eventually gave birth to luminous stars, galaxies and galaxy clusters. Ben Brubaker, Scientific American, 4 May 2022 The corporate tug of war over its fate exposed deep philosophical divides about the future of digital media, as executives struggle to navigate a rapidly changing marketplace where technology and consumer habits shift day to day. New York Times, 24 Apr. 2022 On the cover of the Innovation & Technology Issue, Christoph Niemann captures the eternal tug of war between the lure of the outside and the joys of technology. Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker, 18 Apr. 2022 Comets travel back toward the sun when their orbits experience the gravitational tug of passing stars. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 12 Apr. 2022 But even as Russian bombs kill scores of civilians, Putin has also sought to portray his war as righteous — describing Ukraine as a microcosm of the greater global tug of war between liberal and conservative thought. Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2022 Yet, the tug-of-war over declared aspirations and expansion bans has become a show of force for both sides that continues to echo the Cold War era. Katharina Buchholz, Forbes, 19 Jan. 2022 Twitter is walking a fine line with the BJP Aside from the Gandhi drama, Twitter’s tug-of-war with the BJP government has taken many twists and turns. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz, 27 Jan. 2022 The tidal forces of Phobos' gravity tug on the red planet's crust and mantle, slightly deforming the Martian rock. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About tug

Time Traveler for tug

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near tug

Tu Fu



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Statistics for tug

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tug.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tug. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for tug


\ 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.
2 : tugboat
3 : a strong pulling force the tug of gravity
4 : a struggle between two people or forces


Medical Definition of tug

— see tracheal tug

More from Merriam-Webster on tug

Nglish: Translation of tug for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tug for Arabic Speakers


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