Definition of tug of war in US English:

tug of war


  • 1A contest in which two teams pull at opposite ends of a rope until one drags the other over a central line.

    • ‘More than 300 people involved in education participated in the sports, which consisted of football, running races, Thai lawn bowling and a tug of war.’
    • ‘A garrulous tug of war was going on at the furthest field, the teams mostly made up of stocky boys and girls who cheered each time a team came tumbling down, beaten by their brawnier opponents.’
    • ‘Tug O’ War teams from throughout Laois will be testing their strength in the tug of war contest.’
    • ‘Men and women wishing to take part in the tug of war contests can contact the chairman or any member of the committee.’
    • ‘Anyone wishing to get further information about the tug of war team should contact Paul.’
    • ‘The resulting sports extravaganza included a tug of war tournament and volleyball in the quadrangle, where pupils are not normally allowed to play on the grass.’
    • ‘Tuggers is a ‘no frills story of five women trying out for a place on the local tug of war team.’’
    • ‘Attractions included the District Youth Band, a tug of war, children's races, a barbecue and refreshments.’
    • ‘The final event was a well-fought tug of war with John's team taking a convincing win.’
    • ‘However a parade through the town brought in the crowds, and the day ended on a high note with competitions to find the best dressed St George and Maiden, a tug of war and pancake race.’
    • ‘Kids and adults played tug of war and held sack races.’
    • ‘This did not deter the tug of war teams as they slid and tugged on the rope or the audience who cheered them on.’
    • ‘The challenges that the team will face will be: 100 metres sprint, swimming relay, gym tests, tug of war and a mile running relay.’
    • ‘The blue team dominated the day-long event winning in six disciplines, soccer, pool, table tennis, tug of war and volleyball while their rivals won chess, draughts and rugby.’
    • ‘Choose from billiards, horseshoes, tag games, hockey, Frisbee, tug of war, jump ropes, running, or bowling, just to name a few.’
    • ‘This year will feature underage football for boys and girls, races for tiny tots, a ladies tug of war - with teams of eight - and a veteran men's match.’
    • ‘There was football, netball, basketball, cricket, tug of war, relay races, wa-wee, dominoes and several events for children.’
    • ‘A tug of war contest between the village rugby and football clubs entertained the crowds, as did a welly throwing contest and bird of prey demonstration.’
    • ‘For those who stayed around after the ceremony there were plenty of activities planned including traditional dances and long drums, greased pole climbing contests, tug of war, and a version of kick the can.’
    • ‘There are several teams lined up for the tug of war but more are welcome to come and test their strength against the champions.’
    1. 1.1 A situation in which two evenly matched people or factions are striving to keep or obtain the same thing.
      ‘a tug of war between builders and environmentalists’
      • ‘There's long been a tug of war over the control of computing assets in big companies.’
      • ‘Under normal conditions there is a dynamic balance of tension such that the two sides alternatively win the tug of war across the growth cone and directional persistence times are short.’
      • ‘Maybe complete sincerity in presenting our common problems would end the tug of war between local political, ethnic, social and other opposing groups.’
      • ‘The major powers are engaged in a tug of war over interests in the region.’
      • ‘We can expect a protracted tug of war, which may drag on until the review deadline draws near.’


tug of war

/təɡ əv/