What expressions do mean disturbing someone physically by hitting or touching or pulling or pushing them moderately?

For example, especially when they're kids, the brothers and sisters hit the other on the arm or back or pull over the other to the floor, but the extent of it is not so powerful that they are injured, but only disturbing the victims or playing with each other.

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    I've edited to remove the line that says "this is very easy". Since you can't know if it is easy or not. Have you checked a bilingual dictionary? – James K Apr 21 at 6:48
  • @JamesK That makes much sense. You're right. Thanks for editing. – Smart Humanism Apr 21 at 12:41
  • @JamesK And I checked multiple bilingual dictionaries but all of the presented expressions with very little fitness. – Smart Humanism Apr 21 at 12:51

We can use the word "play" to mean that something is acted or done for fun. It means that it is not real. For example we can say:

The kids went play fishing, using sticks and string and pretended to catch everything from a sardine to a whale.

Similarly you could say "They are play fighting" to mean they are pretending to fight. There could be other childish expressions like "bundling".

On the other hand, if the intent is to annoy, then I would just use "hit", "punch" or "kick" etc. modified by "not very hard" or similar:

Callum punched his sister. I know he didn't do it very hard, and was just trying to annoy her. Still, his punishment is to lose his phone for the next hour.

Another word is "Spar" which means the practice fighting that boxers do to train, and figuratively "sparring" is fighting for practice, not to win. A boxer who is not hitting as hard as he can is said to be "pulling his punches". Metaphorically this is often used in the negative: "He isn't pulling his punches" means he is fighting (or arguing) as hard as he can.

  • Thank you for your answer, particularly for explaining for both possible scenarios, the expressions for which I was actually eager to learn about. :) Have a great day. – Smart Humanism Apr 24 at 19:45
  • If one of these answers has been useful to you, please accept it by clicking on the tick mark next to the answer. – James K Apr 24 at 19:48
  • Yes, of course. I always do so. :) – Smart Humanism Apr 24 at 20:21

For the example about children playing, the Cambridge Dictionary has

rough and tumble
fighting between children that is not serious
It was just a bit of rough and tumble.

Some more general verbs you can use are

manhandle: to touch or hold someone roughly and with force, often when taking them somewhere

jostle: to knock or push roughly against someone in order to move past them or get more space when you are in a crowd of people

  • Thank you for answering, Weather Vane. rough and tumble is a totally new expression to me, so in order to understand how the expressions has got that meaning, I looked each word(rough, tumble) up in the dictionary. However, I failed to understand how the combination of the two words means that. May I ask you to explain a bit about this? – Smart Humanism Apr 27 at 10:05
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    This page says to rough (someone) up "beat up, jostle violently" is from 1868. Together the two words make a well known (to native speakers) phrase, meaning fighting without serious intent to cause hurt. – Weather Vane Apr 27 at 10:10

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