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tugboat

[tuhg-boht] /ˈtʌgˌboʊt/
noun
1.
a small, powerful boat for towing or pushing ships, barges, etc.
Also called towboat, tug.
Origin
1820-1830
1820-30, Americanism; tug + boat
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin and History for tug boat

tugboat

n.

1832, from tug (n.) + boat (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for tug boat

tugboat

small, powerful watercraft designed to perform a variety of functions, especially to tow or push barges and large ships. In 1736 Jonathan Hulls of Gloucestershire, Eng., patented a boat to be powered by a Newcomen steam engine to move large vessels in and out of harbours. The first tugboat actually built was the Charlotte Dundas, powered by a Watt engine and paddle wheel and used on the Forth and Clyde Canal in Scotland. Screw propulsion for tugboats was introduced in the United States about 1850, the diesel engine about 50 years later. Tugs are still indispensable in berthing large ships. Oceangoing tugs are used for salvage missions

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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