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See synonyms for: pullpulledpulling on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
  1. to draw or haul toward oneself or itself, in a particular direction, or into a particular position: We pulled the sled up a hill.She pulled the child out of the path of the swerving bicycle.

  2. to draw or tug at with force: To ring the bell, just pull the rope.

  1. to rend or tear: to pull a cloth to pieces.

  2. to draw or pluck away from a place of growth, attachment, etc.: to pull a tooth;to pull weeds.

  3. to strip of feathers, hair, etc., as a bird or hide.

  4. to draw out (as a knife or gun) for ready use (usually followed by on): Do you know what to do when someone pulls a knife on you?

  5. Informal. to perform successfully (often followed by off): They pulled a spectacular coup.

  6. Informal. to carry out (especially something deceitful or illegal): Police believe the men pulled all three robberies. What kind of trick did she pull this time?

  7. to put on or affect: He pulled a long face when I reprimanded him.

  8. to withdraw or remove: to pull an ineffective pitcher.

  9. to attract or win: to pull many votes in the industrial areas.

  10. to bring (a horse) to a stand by pulling on the reins.

  11. Printing, Graphics. to take (an impression or proof) from type, a cut or plate, etc.: to pull a print.

  12. to be provided with or rowed with (a certain number of oars): This boat pulls 12 oars.

  13. to propel by rowing, as a boat.

  14. to strain (a muscle, ligament, or tendon).

  15. to stretch (taffy or chewing gum).

  16. Military. to be assigned (a specific task or duty): I pulled guard duty our first night in port.

  17. to hold in or check (a racehorse), especially so as to prevent from winning.

  18. Sports. to hit (a ball) so that it travels in a direction opposite to the side from which it was struck, as when a right-handed batter hits into left field.

verb (used without object)
  1. to exert a drawing, tugging, or hauling force (often followed by at).

  2. to inhale through a pipe, cigarette, etc.

  1. to become or come as specified, by being pulled: This rope will pull.

  2. to row.

  3. to proceed by rowing.

  4. (of an advertisement)

    • to have effectiveness, as specified: The ad pulled badly.

    • to be effective: That spot announcement really pulled!

  1. the act of pulling or drawing.

  2. force used in pulling; pulling power.

  1. a drawing in of smoke or a liquid through the mouth: He took a long, thoughtful pull on his pipe. I took a pull from the scout's canteen.

  2. Informal. influence, as with persons able to grant favors.

  3. a part or thing to be pulled; a handle or the like: to replace the pulls on a chest of drawers.

  4. a spell, or turn, at rowing.

  5. a stroke of an oar.

  6. Informal. a pulled muscle: He missed a week's work with a groin pull.

  7. a pulling of the ball, as in baseball or golf.

  8. Informal. the ability to attract; drawing power.

  9. Informal. an advantage over another or others.

Verb Phrases
  1. pull away,

    • to move or draw back or away; withdraw.

    • to free oneself with force: He tried to pull away from his opponent's powerful grip.

    • to move or start to move ahead: The car pulled away into traffic. The faster runners began to pull away from the others.

  2. pull down,

    • to draw downward: to pull a shade down.

    • to demolish; wreck.

    • to lower; reduce.

    • Informal. to receive as a salary; earn: It wasn't long before he was pulling down more than two hundred thousand a year.

  1. pull for, to support actively; encourage: They were pulling for the Republican candidate.

  2. pull in,

    • to reach a place; arrive: The train pulled in early.

    • to tighten; curb: to pull in the reins.

    • Informal. to arrest (someone): The police pulled her in for questioning.

  3. pull off, Informal. to perform successfully, especially something requiring courage, daring, or shrewdness: We'll be rich if we can pull the deal off.

  4. pull out,

    • to leave; depart: The ship pulled out of the harbor.

    • to abandon abruptly: to pull out of an agreement.

  5. pull over, to direct one's automobile or other vehicle to the curb; move out of a line of traffic: The police officer told the driver to pull over.

  6. pull through, to come safely through (a crisis, illness, etc.); survive: The patient eventually pulled through after having had a close brush with death.

  7. pull up,

    • to bring or come to a halt.

    • to bring or draw closer.

    • to root up; pull out: She pulled up all the crab grass in the lawn.

Idioms about pull

  1. pull apart, to analyze critically, especially to point out errors: The professor proceeded to pull the student's paper apart.

  2. pull oneself together, to recover one's self-control; regain command of one's emotions: It was only a minor accident, but the driver couldn't seem to pull himself together.

  1. pull someone's leg. leg (def. 26).

  2. pull the plug on. plug (def. 35).

Origin of pull

First recorded before 1000; Middle English verb pullen, Old English pullian “to pluck, pluck the feathers of, pull, tug”; compare Middle Low German pūlen “to strip off husks, pick,” Old Norse pūla “to work hard”

synonym study For pull

2. See draw.

Opposites for pull

Other words from pull

  • pull·a·ble, adjective
  • pull·er, noun

Words Nearby pull

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pull in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pull


/ (pʊl) /

verb(mainly tr)
  1. (also intr) to exert force on (an object) so as to draw it towards the source of the force

  2. to exert force on so as to remove; extract: to pull a tooth

  1. to strip of feathers, hair, etc; pluck

  2. to draw the entrails from (a fowl)

  3. to rend or tear

  4. to strain (a muscle, ligament, or tendon) injuriously

  5. (usually foll by off) informal to perform or bring about: to pull off a million-pound deal

  6. (often foll by on) informal to draw out (a weapon) for use: he pulled a knife on his attacker

  7. informal to attract: the pop group pulled a crowd

  8. (also intr) slang to attract (a sexual partner)

  9. (intr; usually foll by on or at) to drink or inhale deeply: to pull at one's pipe; pull on a bottle of beer

  10. to put on or make (a grimace): to pull a face

  11. (also intr; foll by away, out, over, etc) to move (a vehicle) or (of a vehicle) be moved in a specified manner: he pulled his car away from the roadside

  12. printing to take (a proof) from type

  13. to withdraw or remove: the board decided to pull their support

  14. sport to hit (a ball) so that it veers away from the direction in which the player intended to hit it (to the left for a right-handed player)

  15. cricket to hit (a ball pitched straight or on the off side) to the leg side

  16. hurling to strike (a fast-moving ball) in the same direction as it is already moving

  17. (also intr) to row (a boat) or take a stroke of (an oar) in rowing

  18. to be rowed by: a racing shell pulls one, two, four, or eight oars

  19. (of a rider) to restrain (a horse), esp to prevent it from winning a race

  20. (intr) (of a horse) to resist strongly the attempts of a rider to rein in or check it

  21. pull a fast one slang to play a sly trick

  22. pull apart or pull to pieces to criticize harshly

  23. pull your head in Australian informal be quiet!

  24. pull one's punches

    • informal to restrain the force of one's criticisms or actions

    • boxing to restrain the force of one's blows, esp when deliberately losing after being bribed, etc

  25. pull one's weight informal to do one's fair or proper share of a task

  26. pull strings informal to exercise personal influence, esp secretly or unofficially

  27. pull someone's leg informal to make fun of, fool, or tease someone

  1. an act or an instance of pulling or being pulled

  2. the force or effort used in pulling: the pull of the moon affects the tides on earth

  1. the act or an instance of taking in drink or smoke

  2. something used for pulling, such as a knob or handle

  3. informal special advantage or influence: his uncle is chairman of the company, so he has quite a lot of pull

  4. informal the power to attract attention or support

  5. a period of rowing

  6. a single stroke of an oar in rowing

  7. the act of pulling the ball in golf, cricket, etc

  8. the act of checking or reining in a horse

  9. the amount of resistance in a bowstring, trigger, etc

Origin of pull

Old English pullian; related to Icelandic pūla to beat

Derived forms of pull

  • puller, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with pull


In addition to the idioms beginning with pull

  • pull a boner
  • pull a fast one
  • pull away
  • pull back
  • pull down
  • pull in
  • pulling teeth
  • pull in one's horns
  • pull no punches
  • pull off
  • pull oneself together
  • pull oneself up by the bootstraps
  • pull one's punches
  • pull one's weight
  • pull out
  • pull out all the stops
  • pull out of a hat
  • pull over
  • pull rank
  • pull round
  • pull someone's chain
  • pull someone's leg
  • pull something
  • pull strings
  • pull the plug on
  • pull the rug out from under
  • pull the wool over someone's eyes
  • pull through
  • pull together
  • pull up
  • pull up stakes
  • pull wires

also see:

  • fast one, pull a
  • have pull with
  • like pulling teeth

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.