v. tugged, tug·ging, tugs
1. To pull at vigorously or repeatedly: tugged the bell rope. See Synonyms at pull.
2. To move by pulling with great effort or exertion; drag: tugged the mattress onto the porch.
3. To tow by tugboat.
To pull something vigorously or repeatedly: tugged at the coat's zipper.
1. An instance of tugging; a strong or sudden pull: gave the leash a tug.
2. A pulling force: the tug of gravity.
3. A contest; a struggle: a tug between loyalty and desire.
a. A tugboat.
b. A land, air, or space vehicle that moves or tows other vehicles: an airplane tug.
5. A rope, chain, or strap used in hauling, especially a harness trace.
[Middle English tuggen, from Old English tēon; see deuk- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.