\ 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

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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 Hair elastics tug and pull your hair into place, which can cause headaches, hair loss, and hair damage. Samantha Driscoll, Better Homes & Gardens, 12 May 2021 Her narrators tug insistently if coolly at the central knots of being. Dwight Garner, New York Times, 26 Apr. 2021 Then comes skepticism, cringe comedy, eye-popping revelations -- and a few moments that tug at your heartstrings. Faith Karimi, CNN, 24 Apr. 2021 Working one triangle at a time, grasp the two corners of the shorter end, the base of the crescent, and tug gently outward to extend the points and widen the base to about 3 inches. The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Apr. 2021 Unlike cotton sleep masks, the Lunya Washable Silk Sleep Mask ($48) will protect your hair and won’t tug at skin at night. Katie Intner, Harper's BAZAAR, 9 Apr. 2021 This sleek hot tool from hair styling brand T3 features 1-inch ceramic plates that tame frizz and contribute to a smooth release that the brand claims won’t tug at your hair. Mili Godio, NBC News, 1 Apr. 2021 Two opposite forces seemed to tug at Emilio Estevez. Mike Hughes, The Enquirer, 24 Mar. 2021 Of all the nutty things that happened at Coors Field on Thursday in the Dodgers’ 8-5 opening loss to the Colorado Rockies, only one will stick with them, tug at them, possibly even worry them. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 2 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In one instance, the Justice Department and Apple had been in a tug of war over whether Apple should help investigators by unlocking iPhones used by suspects in high-profile shootings. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 9 June 2021 But a glance at Twitter’s relationship with the Indian government proves the two are constantly in a tug of war. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz, 29 Apr. 2021 That effort, paid for in part with public funding, follows last year’s launch of the world’s first all-electric tug at a port in Istanbul. Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 May 2021 Walking into The Arena, the setup for the elimination looks simple: individual tug of war, man against man and woman against woman. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, 7 May 2021 The event, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Parr Park, 3010 Parr Lane, will include activities such as a three-legged race, sponge toss, sack races and tug of war. Anna Caplan, Dallas News, 6 May 2021 Use walks, runs, and playtime like fetch or tug of war to help. Jennifer Nelson, Southern Living, 24 Apr. 2021 The team spent one of their final training sessions playing team-bonding games like human tic-tac-toe and tug of war. Julia Poe, orlandosentinel.com, 16 Apr. 2021 But money always seems to out-tug common sense and long-term logic. Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2021

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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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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Statistics for tug

Last Updated

17 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tug.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tug. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for tug



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.
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

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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