tug


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forelock-tugging

A show of 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

touch (one's) forelock

To show excessive deference toward someone in a superior position. An allusion to the former act of pulling one's frontmost hair in lieu of having a hat to tip. I hate being in meetings with the CEO because then I have to witness all of the regional managers touching their forelocks like fawning sycophants.
See also: forelock, touch

tug (one's) forelock

To show excessive deference toward someone in a superior position. An allusion to the former act of pulling one's frontmost hair in lieu of having a hat to tip. I hate being in meetings with the CEO because then I have to witness all of the regional managers tugging their forelocks like fawning sycophants.
See also: forelock, tug

tug at (someone or something)

1. To pull or yank on someone or something vigorously or repeatedly. Yes, we can go see the lion enclosure now, stop tugging at me like that! The tractor tugged at the car, but it still wouldn't budge from the ditch.
2. To demand or require someone's attention, especially urgently or incessantly. It can be easy to become overwhelmed when you've got a dozen different things tugging at you, so we've created a software suite to help get your business life back in order. The whole time I was in college, the thought of moving to Japan and teaching English just kept tugging at me.
See also: tug

tug away

1. To tow someone or something away with a tugboat. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tug" and "away." The coastguard ordered for the abandoned freighter to be tugged away. Our propeller got tangled in the vegetation of the marsh, so we had to radio in for someone to come tug us away.
2. To pull or yank (on someone or something) vigorously or repeatedly, especially when doing so has little or no effect. I tugged away at the man's arm, but he wouldn't budge. I've been tugging away for nearly 20 minutes, but it doesn't seem like this thing has moved more than an inch!
See also: away, tug

tug away at (someone or something)

To pull or yank on someone or something vigorously or repeatedly, especially when doing so has little or no effect. I tugged away at the man's arm, but he wouldn't budge. I've been tugging away at this thing for nearly 20 minutes, but it doesn't seem like it has moved more than an inch!
See also: away, tug

tug of love

1. A dispute over custody of a child or children following the divorce or separation of two parents. An ironic play on the phrase "tug of war." Sometimes hyphenated. The divorce itself didn't bother me at all, but the tug of love over my three-year-old nearly destroyed my spirit.
2. By extension, a dispute or contest regarding the right of possession of someone or something. Sometimes hyphenated. Due to the company's international status, there is a bit of a tug-of-love at the moment between several countries over who can lay claim to its huge overdue tax bill.
See also: love, of, tug

tug of war

1. A game in which two or more people pull on either ends of a rope with the goal of causing its center point to cross over to their side. Our company has a massive annual tug of war match each year, sometimes with as many as 50 people pulling on each side!
2. Any instance in which two or more people or animals pull vigorously on either ends of something. It's always a tug of war between me and the dog for the newspaper each morning. The kids started off sharing the bicycle very nicely, but it devolved into a tug of war about 30 minutes later.
3. Any situation in which two or more people or groups engage in a struggle for control or supremacy. Control over Congress has been a tug of war over the last decade, with either party regaining and losing control in each subsequent election cycle. I don't want a game of tug of war between us for custody of the children, so let's please just share it equally.
See also: of, tug, war

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

BRITISH
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

or

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 ?
Located in a triangular area bounded by Watertown, Rome, and Syracuse, Tug Hill encompasses approximately 2,000 square miles between Lake Ontario and the Adirondacks.
The tug almost went under the side of the ferry - it was very frightening to watch.
Before we developed our newest product, the Series 2000, we carried out a survey among both the people who use and the people who maintain tugs. We wanted to find out exactly what they need.
The tug will have a life of about 25 years and it will be much cheaper to operate than a conventional tug because it will not burn through diesel fuel.
"We are very happy with our existing Damen ASD Tug 2411 and we knew Damen were building hybrid tugs, so Damen was a logical choice for a partner when we wanted to look at the possibility of developing a fully electric model.
As ships became bigger, the role of tugs increased in importance, making them a vital component in the vast machinery of the busy, bustling port.
"His knowledge was to prove invaluable to me both in my art and as part of my life on the tug boats.
Perhaps the most famous of the Tyne-built steam-powered paddle tugs was Monarch, launched by Edward Robson of South Shields in 1833 and which is depicted in JMW Turner's painting of the Fighting Temeraire, towing the Trafalgar warship to her final destination.
In our July issue we published a survey of some of the tugs on the market that are suitable for moving airplanes weighing less than 6000 pounds.
The KPT invited two separate proposals related to technical and financial aspects of bidding companies in chartering of two tugs badly needed by the Karachi Port which has an ageing flotilla of five tugs to handle around 20 ships per day.
And off the same handicap mark, Top Tug can land the PS177,413 first prize under today's jockey Martin Harley (left).
The Tug Hill Plateau (hereafter Tug Hill), which rises -500 meters above the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, is well known as one of the snowiest locations in the eastern United States and as a hub for winter recreation.
KARACHI -- Keel laying ceremony of yet another 32 Tons Bollard Pull (TBP) Tug being built for Pakistan Navy was held at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KS and EW) here on Tuesday.