tug of war


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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 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
References in periodicals archive ?
Ayrshire Tug of War Club formed in 2004 with the boys' team concentrating on the indoor side of the sport.
In female event Zoology won first position in volleyball, table tennis and got second position in tug of war and athletic.
Tug of war strategy can be applied to the nation's highest court.
Laurie, a member for 20 years after joining through her Young Farmers' club, said: "We would like to see all female teams competing but indoors tug of war is very specialist and not many people know about it.
More than half the tug of war team went to school with Stu.
In Scotland, President Bush resembled an isolated soul in a global warming tug of war, stubbornly being dragged modestly closer to the line where all of the other major worm governments and an increasing number of the world's corporations are already standing."
There will be a pubs and clubs tug of war, followed by a childrens' tug of war.
Constables Ross McLelland and Eric McCann were caught in a marathon tug of war through a letterbox after the dog managed to snatch their patrol car keys.
But this is a classic lop-sided tug of war, in which moneyed interests hold the upper hand in the marketplace and in the arenas of public debate.
Does her arrival presage a tug of war in the aisles of discount decor?
Still, the tug of war between Western ways and religion is evident in the Petronas Towers themselves.
They are Wales' Tug of War team and the focus of Dala'r Slac yn Dynn on S4C.
For example, toeing a thin line between the cartoonish whimsy of children's coloring books and the shear weight of nineteenth-century slave narratives, the painter John Bankton is described by writer Christine Kim as "playing a tug of war between language and imagery [that] leads the viewer to question his/her own morality" yet at the same time the artist "reminds us that symbioses and multiplicity are much more appealing" than the often regimented ways in which we receive information from the mass media.
The Irishman won two Northumberland Plates and a Goodwood Cup with Tug Of War, and his other good horses included Rocky Royale, Elco, Tropic Star and Classic-placed Indian Melody.