To tug is to forcefully pull or drag something. You might need your sister's help to tug your knee-high boots off at the end of a long day.

A child might tug at his parent's arm and a commuter might tug a rolling suitcase behind her as she enters a subway car. Something else that tugs is a tugboat — and tug is a common nickname for these boats that are designed to pull (or push) other vessels. Tug and tow share the same root word meaning "to pull" or "to lead."

Definitions of tug
  1. verb
    pull hard
    “The prisoner tugged at the chains”
    “This movie tugs at the heart strings”
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    type of:
    attract, draw, draw in, pull, pull in
    direct toward itself or oneself by means of some psychological power or physical attributes
  2. verb
    pull or strain hard at
    “Each oar was tugged by several men”
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    type of:
    draw, force, pull
    cause to move by pulling
  3. verb
    move by pulling hard
    “The horse finally tugged the cart out of the mud”
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    type of:
    displace, move
    cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense
  4. verb
    tow (a vessel) with a tug
    “The tugboat tugged the freighter into the harbor”
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    type of:
    drag behind
  5. verb
    carry with difficulty
    synonyms: lug, tote
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    type of:
    carry, transport
    move while supporting, either in a vehicle or in one's hands or on one's body
  6. verb
    strive and make an effort to reach a goal
    “She tugged for years to make a decent living”
    synonyms: drive, labor, labour, push
    bear on, push
    press, drive, or impel (someone) to action or completion of an action
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    reach, strain, strive
    to exert much effort or energy
    extend oneself
    strain to the utmost
    kill oneself, overexert oneself
    strain oneself more than is healthy
    bother, inconvenience oneself, trouble, trouble oneself
    take the trouble to do something; concern oneself
    type of:
    fight, struggle
    make a strenuous or labored effort
  7. verb
    struggle in opposition
    “She tugged and wrestled with her conflicts”
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    type of:
    contend, fight, struggle
    be engaged in a fight; carry on a fight
  8. noun
    a sudden abrupt pull
    synonyms: jerk, yank
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    type of:
    pull, pulling
    the act of pulling; applying force to move something toward or with you
  9. noun
    a powerful small boat designed to pull or push larger ships
    synonyms: towboat, tower, tugboat
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    type of:
    a small vessel for travel on water
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