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Showing excessive deference toward someone in a superior position. I hate being in meetings with the CEO because then I have to witness all of the managers' forelock-tugging.

tear/tug/pull at/on (one's)/the heartstrings

To elicit strong feelings of sympathy or fondness. I don't know why, but that piece of music always tears at my heartstrings. That documentary really pulls on the heartstrings—you'll want to adopt all of those kids after watching it.
See also: heartstring, on, pull, tear, tug

tug at someone or something

to pull at someone or something. Stop tugging at me! I'll talk to you in a minute. The dog tugged at my pants cuff.
See also: tug

tug away (at something)

to pull hard at something; to haul something. She tugged away at the rope, but the anchor would not budge. No matter how much she tugged away, it didn't move.
See also: away, tug

tug of war

A struggle for supremacy, as in There's a constant political tug of war between those who favor giving more power to the states and those who want a strong federal government . Although there is an athletic contest also so named, in which participants holding either end of a rope try to pull each other across a dividing line, the present usage, first recorded in 1677, predates it by about two centuries. The noun tug itself means "a strenuous contest between two sides," and war refers to fighting, either physical or figurative.
See also: of, tug, war

tug your forelock

If someone tugs their forelock, they show a lot of respect to someone in a high social position. I don't know how you can stand bowing and scraping and tugging your forelock to all those rich old crones. Note: You can also say that someone touches their forelock. A lot of people seem to think we're supposed to go round touching our forelock and scraping our heads against the floor. We're not. Note: You can refer to this kind of behaviour as forelock-tugging or forelock-touching. The idea of forelock-tugging is totally alien to us, as is the idea that some people are born to rule. Note: These expressions are used to show that the speaker thinks that too much respect is being shown. Note: A forelock is a lock of hair that falls over a person's forehead. In the past, it was customary for lower class people to remove their hats in front of upper class people. If they were not wearing a hat, they touched their forelock instead.
See also: forelock, tug

tug at the heartstrings


tug at your heartstrings

COMMON If someone or something tugs at the heartstrings or tugs at your heartstrings, they cause you to feel pity or sadness. Miss Cookson knows exactly how to tug at readers' heartstrings. Note: You can use verbs such as pull and pluck instead of tug. Unlike many charity campaigns, it doesn't pull at the heartstrings. Note: You can also omit the word at. McLachlan tugs the heartstrings with a succession of ballads. Note: Heartstrings is used in many other structures and expressions with similar meanings. This is not a movie that aims for the heartstrings. Note: In medieval times, it was believed that `heartstrings' were tendons which supported the heart.
See also: heartstring, tug

tug of love

a dispute over the custody of a child. British informal
See also: love, of, tug

touch/tug your ˈforelock

(disapproving) show too much respect for a person of a higher rank or status: This is a democratic country and we don’t want people tugging their forelocks.In the past, people either took off their hats or pulled on their forelocks (= the hair above the forehead) to show respect.
See also: forelock, touch, tug

tug at somebody’s ˈheartstrings

make somebody feel strong emotions of sadness and pity: Advertisers often use babies and children to tug at your heartstrings.
See also: heartstring, tug
References in periodicals archive ?
An agreement was signed this week at the New Orleans Workboat Show between Damen Shipyards Group and Great Lakes Shipyard, USA, for the latter to build two Stan Tugs 1907 ICE at its facility in Cleveland, Ohio.
Shaikh Khaled also toured and inspected the tug boat after the ceremony.
For ground handling crews, the tow tug cockpit is their immediate workplace, and therefore, it was important to achieve a design that supports the principles of comfort, ease of operation, convenience, and safety.
Lastly TUG also provides one of the largest Timeshare Marketplaces available on the internet with over $24,000,000 in completed listings by owners in the past few years alone, and all without paying huge upfront fees, or any commissions!
For some tug and barge operators, the marine industry is part of their ancestry.
The first two Stan Tug 1606 mooring boats, Ras Al Allaj Qatar and Al Esaiwed, were delivered in August 2014.
Another tug was en route to the affected boat to help.
The 30 tonne pull tug will have a 2,500-hp engine and a shallow draft which will enable the tug to be used in shallow waters, such as in and around Musaffah Port.
TUG Technologies is based in Kennesaw, Georgia, where it manufactures ground support equipment servicing airlines, air-freight companies, ground handlers, government agencies and airports worldwide.
Earlier MD Karachi Shipyard, Rear Admiral Syed Hasan Nasir Shah in his welcome address said that Karachi Shipyard has already constructed various tugs ranging from 10 to 40 Tons Bollard Pull; but construction of this Tug is distinct due to very different design and state of art equipment and machinery to facilitate multi-purpose operations.
After check-in procedures were completed, a trained clinic nurse administered the three TUG tasks as follows.
While tug of war is still an amateur sport, competitors at this level taKe it very seriously.
Ten firefighters from Billesley station and the technical rescue unit, based at Bickenhill, used search cameras and listening devices while digging three holes to find Tug.
Theoretical investigations into the new types of work methods for tugs in ports, experimental tests on real ships and calibrated simulators were the main research direction to prepare a methodology of calculating tug towing power under real conditions, which is an important issue and the need for future investigations and practical calculations of tug bollard pull.