tug away at (someone or something)

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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