\ 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 He’s getting picked first for the tug-a-war competition, in other words. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 6 July 2022 Those riffs are part of Growin’ Up’s sonic maturity; its spacious production, helmed by Combs alongside co-producers Chip Matthews and Jonathan Singleton, allows guitar licks and thumping bass lines to tug songs in sometimes surprising directions. Maura Johnston, Rolling Stone, 25 June 2022 One person's bad day can tug everyone's energy down during a meeting, and hearing about a friend's frantic panic buying in the early days of the pandemic may have triggered some purchases of your own. Forbes, 18 May 2022 Use the tip of the paring knife or scissor blade to get under the dark vein and gently tug it out from the top. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, 16 Nov. 2021 Yet, there was still enough room for Cabello to pull and tug at the dress when needed. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 8 Sep. 2021 The little humans pull and tug at the masks constantly. Gregory Krieg, CNN, 11 Aug. 2021 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In many places, grasslands and forests coexist in a slow-motion tug-of-war. Julia Rosen, The Atlantic, 25 July 2022 Twitter, which has long been in a tug-of-war with the government, was hit by 24 legal notices over 2021, resulting in over 80 tweets being taken down and geo-specific restrictions being placed on accounts. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz, 29 June 2022 Spain, Morocco, and Algeria have been caught in a three-way diplomatic tug-of-war over Western Sahara for the past year. Joseph Wilson, The Christian Science Monitor, 10 June 2022 As for Andre, the aspiring political player with legal and financial interest in The Pynk and the possible new casino coming to town to take its place, season 1 found him in an internal tug-of-war. Rivea Ruff, Essence, 10 June 2022 Spain, Morocco and Algeria have been caught in a three-way diplomatic tug-of-war over Western Sahara for the past year. Joseph Wilson, ajc, 9 June 2022 In the tug-of-war over working from home, Silicon Valley hopes to out-manoeuvre Wall Street and win the best talent on Earth. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 9 May 2022 But the pain of humanity caught up in the tug-of-war remains the same. Arwa Damon, CNN, 7 Mar. 2022 The delivery driver felt a tug on his shirt and words were exchanged. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, 4 July 2021 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

28 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tug.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tug. Accessed 9 Aug. 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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