tug (one's) forelock

(redirected from tug his forelock)

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 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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
The Beast of Bolsover is a republican after my own heart, refusing to bow or tug his forelock for the smuggest, snootiest, most ludicrous hereditary hangover in the world.
Does United's owner expect Benitez to tug his forelock, thank his paymaster for generosity shown and reach for a pen?
Maybe he likes to sit in his armchair, tug his forelock and accept his lot as a member of racing's most downtrodden class.
He may well doff his hat to George Borrow, but tug his forelock? Never.
I TRUST the good folk of Merthyr and Tregaron give the grandiosely named bigot J Tibbenham-Pode a really "warm'' welcome when he next "has the misfortune'' (his words) to visit either town, and boot him and his double-barrel surname back over the bridge where he can tug his forelock and doff his cap to his beloved Majesty.
He's paid to play football, not to tug his forelock and sing the praises of mint balls and gravy.
And while Chris Coleman might be a rookie boss feeling his way, he's not gutless enough to tug his forelock when a legendary manager like Fergie comes bashing down his door.