Definition of tug in US English:

tug

verb

[with object]
  • Pull (something) hard or suddenly.

    ‘she tugged off her boots’
    no object ‘he tugged at Tom's coat sleeve’
    • ‘Soon Dougal turned over pulling the covers with him and she tugged them back over her.’
    • ‘Cyril reached for his boots and tugged them on, and then pulled a shirt over his head.’
    • ‘She tugs Mike's arm, pulling him down into an awkward kneel.’
    • ‘He pulled a strap across her arms, tugged it tight and buckled it.’
    • ‘The old man grabbed hold of it and tugged it from its confinement, dragging it out into the driveway.’
    • ‘Rachael screamed, throwing herself down next to me and grabbing my arm, tugging it.’
    • ‘She scrambled to her feet, but a hand clutched around her ankle, tugging her back.’
    • ‘She tugged at Rob's sleeve with just enough force to suggest that she would tug much harder if he did not comply with her wishes.’
    • ‘I was going to throw away the thick wad of paper he gave me when Terry suddenly tugged at my arm.’
    • ‘It stuck like glue and no matter how hard he tugged it, it just wouldn't budge.’
    • ‘I pulled as hard as I could, tugging his arm, trying to get him back up to the forest floor.’
    • ‘A yellow school bus pulled in front of us and Sera tugged my arm and James just followed us.’
    • ‘He murmured, gently tugging my arm and pulling me into his lap.’
    • ‘She let out a strangled cry when he grabbed a handful of her hair and tugged her head back.’
    • ‘On the field, they tug their opponents' shirts and fall over like skittles at the slightest contact.’
    • ‘I hold it tightly as I step out, pulling the lever for the passenger seat and tug it forward.’
    • ‘As he traipsed off tugging his shirt, he looked a little unhappy.’
    • ‘Jan grabs her braid and tugs it, ignoring her startled outcry.’
    • ‘Max looked abruptly away and down, as if a small boy had suddenly tugged at his sleeve.’
    • ‘Slowly and steadily I reel it in, remembering Glyn's advice not to tug the hook too suddenly.’
    pull, pluck
    drag, pull, draw, haul, heave, tow, trail
    View synonyms

noun

  • 1A hard or sudden pull.

    ‘another tug and it came loose’
    figurative ‘an overwhelming tug of attraction’
    • ‘I felt a sudden tug on the stick and a horrible cracking sound.’
    • ‘Before I knew what was going on, I felt a tug and was pulled into a warm embrace.’
    • ‘You give your ropes a tug and pull all the other man's pegs out.’
    • ‘About 5 minutes later I felt a hard tug, and started reeling in the fish.’
    • ‘Reaching for the door handle, he grabbed it and gave it a hard tug.’
    • ‘There was a sudden tug and then a rush of light and then he was out.’
    • ‘Fiona gave the cloth a good, hard tug and stepped back, dusting her hands together.’
    • ‘There was a hard tug and then it steadied out and I began to descend.’
    • ‘There was a sudden tug, and the cloak around his shoulders was torn away.’
    • ‘He began drawing a detailed picture of an angel when a sudden tug on his shoulders nearly made him fall off the bench.’
    • ‘Tucking the end of the sash between my thumb and the palm of my hand, I gave a hard tug, undoing the knot.’
    • ‘Then he felt a sudden tug and the pad was wrenched from his grasp.’
    • ‘She woke up the next morning to feel a hard tug on her arm.’
    • ‘We carried on running and a minute later I felt a hard tug on my arm.’
    • ‘Unable to get it out with a simple tug, he pulled one of the two pistols out of his holster.’
    • ‘I felt a small tug pull my robe; I turned to face a small child, staring up at me.’
    • ‘He was frightened by her hard tug and the weight of his armor made him clatter to the floor.’
    • ‘In frustration, she gave her hardest tug to yank the arrow out.’
    • ‘Still holding the mast, Sydney grabbed at the bag, managing to rip it down after two hard tugs.’
    • ‘I took the edge of the blanket and gave it a hard tug pulling the whole thing off the bed.’
    pull, jerk, wrench, heave
    View synonyms
  • 2

    short for tugboat
    • ‘Yesterday morning, three tugs pulled the 3,000-tonne vessel off the top of the wreck.’
    • ‘Smaller boats, including tugboats can also be seen moving about on the river.’
    • ‘Many parked their cars along River Road and either set up chairs or stood and watched as a tugboat nudged the ship into place.’
    • ‘The bridge swings open so massive cruise ships and small tugboats can enter the harbor.’
    • ‘‘The nearest boat to the tugboat was 40 nautical miles away and we managed to be there in about two hours,’ he said.’
    1. 2.1 An aircraft towing a glider.
      • ‘There is an open question as to what the legal status of these operations would be after the exemption expires and our towing operations that use heavy tugs move to light-sport aircraft.’
      • ‘It saw active service as a troop transport, glider tug, freighter, ferry aircraft, and ambulance, and was used for dropping parachute troops.’
      • ‘Portability as well as being able to be flown from hang gliding flight parks using hang glider tugs has been the criteria for design.’
      • ‘By 1960, only seven remained active as target tugs and radar calibration aircraft for the gunnery ranges ashore or the fleet guns.’
      • ‘The hangar is already filling up with tugs and gliders.’
  • 3A loop from a horse's saddle which supports a shaft or trace.

    • ‘Most folks hang their shafts too low and you need to restrain the tug so it doesn't fly forward and backward as the animal performs maneuvers.’
    • ‘The tug straps loop through the gullet of the saddle and then buckle back to the collar.’

Origin

Middle English: from the base of tow. The noun is first recorded ( late Middle English) in tug (sense 3 of the noun).

Pronunciation

tug

/təɡ//təɡ/