- 1[intransitive, transitive] to pull something hard, often several times tug (at/on something) She tugged at his sleeve to get his attention. (figurative) a sad story that tugs at your heartstrings (= makes you feel sad) tug something The baby was tugging her hair. tug something + adj. He tugged the door open.
- 2[transitive] tug something + adv./prep. to pull something hard in a particular direction He tugged the hat down over his head. Synonymspulldrag draw haul tow tugThese words all mean to move something in a particular direction, especially towards or behind you.pull to hold something and move it in a particular direction; to hold or be attached to a vehicle and move it along behind you:Pull the chair nearer the table. They use oxen to pull their carts.drag to pull somebody/something in a particular direction or behind you, usually along the ground, and especially with effort:The sack is too heavy to lift—you’ll have to drag it.draw (formal) to move somebody/something by pulling them/it gently; to pull a vehicle such as a carriage:I drew my chair closer to the fire. a horse-drawn carriagehaul to pull somebody/something to a particular place with a lot of effort:Fishermen were hauling in their nets.drag or haul?You usually drag something behind you along the ground; you usually haul something towards you, often upwards towards you. Dragging something often needs effort, but hauling something always does. tow to pull a car, boat or light plane behind another vehicle, using a rope or chain:Our car was towed away by the police.tug to pull somebody/something hard in a particular direction:She tried to escape but he tugged her back.Patterns to pull/drag/draw/haul/tow/tug somebody/something along/down/towards something to pull/drag/draw/haul/tow somebody/something behind you to pull/drag/draw/haul a cart/sledge to pull/draw a coach/carriage to pull/haul/tow a truck horses pull/draw/haul something dogs pull/drag/haul something Word OriginMiddle English: from the base of tow.Extra examples Alexis was up in a flash, tugging on his arm. He tugged harder, but it was caught fast. He tugged lightly at my wrist. He tugged me by the sleeve. She nervously tugged at her long brown hair. She playfully tugged at his shirt. She tugged at his arm to get his attention. Annie appeared, tugging her little sister by the arm. He tugged his hat down over his head. His mother was tugging him along by the hand. She tried to escape but he tugged her back. The visitor tugged hard on the bell-pull.Idioms (British English, disapproving) to show too much respect for somebody, especially because you are anxious about what they think of you In the past people of the lower classes either took off their hats or pulled on their forelocks to show respect.
BrE BrE//tʌɡ//; NAmE NAmE//tʌɡ//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they tug
BrE BrE//tʌɡ//; NAmE NAmE//tʌɡ//he / she / it tugs
BrE BrE//tʌɡz//; NAmE NAmE//tʌɡz//past simple tugged
BrE BrE//tʌɡd//; NAmE NAmE//tʌɡd//past participle tugged
BrE BrE//tʌɡd//; NAmE NAmE//tʌɡd//-ing form tugging
BrE BrE//ˈtʌɡɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//ˈtʌɡɪŋ//