1. A game in which two teams pull on opposite ends of a rope, trying to pull the other team over a line marked on the ground.
The tug-of-war ended when both teams tumbled in a heap.
2. A contest in which two sides try to defeat each other; struggle.
A tug-of-war developed between the boys who wanted to go fishing and those who wanted to go hiking.
Betty felt a tug-of-war between her wish to go to the movies and her realizing she had to do her homework.
The tug of war between the union men and management ended in a long strike.