tug away

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Cut where you can reach - just above a pair of buds - and tug away the cut piece of vine.
My food menu was gnarled and had seen better days while the wine list - littered with large white stickers - was only a delicate tug away from separating into two separate pieces, such was its state of disrepair.
But theorists thought that passing stars in such a cluster would tug away the solar system's outer planets.
With our boy Dylan now four, and kids' clubs now seen as a positive treat rather than a tear-jerking tug away from mummy, this was the perfect opportunity for him to have fun and for us to get fit and sporty.
My fingers wandered mindlessly up to my throat as if to tug away a constricting shirt collar.
She lies there, not flinching in the least as the little ones with their sharp teeth tug away at her teats.
Months pass but her memory does not return: "Every time she tried to tug away a corner of the blackness she found nothing but mist." When the killer finally reveals himself hiding in plain sight it is a shock.