\ 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 Hong Kongers at the time were endlessly curious about life across the border and, tugged by bonds of family, culture and in some case politics, saw their city as part of a bigger Chinese story. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "Hong Kong Was Once Passionate About China. Now, It’s Indifferent or Contemptuous.," 3 Sep. 2019 Bands of red, violet, and green melt into one another, and in some works, large swaths of color deepen like the sky at twilight, tugging us into a dream of eternity. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "At Boston’s M Fine Arts Galerie, Mark Knoerzer paintings whirl with pattern and color," 14 Aug. 2019 Homers by the bushel, a polished performance by Brett Anderson and the A’s finally tugged themselves away from the .500 mark. Susan Slusser, SFChronicle.com, "A’s belt six homers, top Orioles 16-2 to move two games over .500," 18 June 2019 At the top of the box, the captain cut one way, ducked the other and then tugged the ball back to shimmy free of his defender. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Nani leads Orlando City to dig out 3-3 draw against New England Revolution," 5 Aug. 2019 To create a smooth line, use your finger to make the skin around your eye taut, but don't tug. Hana Hong, Marie Claire, "How to Apply Liquid Eyeliner Like a Pro: A Fast and Easy Guide," 26 July 2019 San Diego County will get a break from the late summer heat this week as a low pressure system moves into Southern California, tugging clouds over the region. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego weather will turn cool this week -- but wildfire conditions tick up," 16 Sep. 2019 Arizona State commit DeaMonte Trayanum initiated contact early, dragging defenders who held on for a ride by tugging his jersey. Matt Goul, cleveland.com, "No. 1 Archbishop Hoban pounds Harrisburg, 42-12, in Ohio vs. Pennsylvania showdown," 31 Aug. 2019 Alanna Kennedy earned a red card in the 90th minute for a denial of a goal-scoring opportunity, tugging down Kerr to prevent her from running onto a ball in the box. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando Pride beat Chicago Red Stars 2-1 despite early Alex Morgan injury," 23 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Myrna also appraised the insistent tug of memories in a 1979 essay for The New York Times, when the family moved to a larger suburban home. Bryan Marquard, BostonGlobe.com, "Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer, authors of baseball books and oral histories, die a week apart at 80 and 83," 14 Aug. 2019 The last four decades have seen a tug of war over just how much is permissible, the celebration rules relaxing or tightening seemingly on the whim of some suit at 345 Park Avenue. The Si Staff, SI.com, "100 Figures Who Shaped the NFL’s First Century," 28 Aug. 2019 The tug-of-war between the city of Oakland and Alameda County over the county’s proposed $85 million sale of its half share in the Coliseum complex to the A’s appears headed to a legal showdown. Phil Matier, SFChronicle.com, "The Oakland-Alameda dispute over who will own Coliseum site heats up," 11 Aug. 2019 Released on June 21, the song's accompanying music video gives insight into its true meaning, showcasing a mental tug-of-war between singer Brendon Urie and a puppet version of himself. Ellise Shafer, Billboard, "Here are the Lyrics to Panic! at the Disco's 'Hey Look Ma, I Made It'," 8 July 2019 In Belarus, Ukraine and other parts of the defunct Soviet Union, an endless tug-of-war between Moscow and its former dominions has often been defined by quarrels over oil and gas pipelines, military alignments, and geopolitics. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "As Putin Pushes a Merger, Belarus Resists With Language, Culture and History," 29 June 2019 The tug of war between the past and the future of banking in India is getting interesting. Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Bank’s Race Against Crisis Puts India on Warning," 17 Sep. 2019 Alongside the obvious potential for disunity, however, a strong tug toward unity might be felt. Jim Lardner, The New Yorker, "Something for the Democrats to Try at the Debates: a Little Togetherness," 12 Sep. 2019 In the halls of Washington and on sprawling farms and ranches, in courtrooms and corporate boardrooms, a legal tug of war has unfolded over a 2015 rule that gave the Environmental Protection Agency much broader authority over the nation's waterways. Author: Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump administration plans to return nation to 1986 standards on water pollution," 12 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for tug

Last Updated

3 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for tug

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tug

Spanish Central: Translation of tug

Nglish: Translation of tug for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tug for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tug

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something of little or no value

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