toy tug

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Senior Member
Dear all
Any idea what's meant by "toy tug" in the following context from "Manhattan Transfer" by Dos Passos:
Time: 1919
When they sit up in the great bed they can see across the harbor, can see the yards of a windjammer and a white sloop and a red and green toy tug and plainfaced houses opposite beyond a peacock stripe of water; whey they lie down they can see gulls in the sky.
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I'm not entirely sure, but a tug is a tugboat or towboat that can pull barges. Perhaps it is a toy tug because it is small or not that powerful?


    New Member
    English-Northern England
    A tug is a small but relatively very powerful and agile boat that not only tows barges, but is used to manoeuvre large ships safely into and out of dock (their own engines not being sufficiently responsive to make the small, quick, adjustments required in this procedure). Consequently, a tug may well seem like a "toy" compared with the large ship it is completely controlling. This will be particularly so if viewed from a distance, of course.
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