verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- to have effectiveness, as specified: The ad pulled badly.
- to be effective: That spot announcement really pulled!
- 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.
- 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 fifty thousand a year.
- 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.
- to leave; depart: The ship pulled out of the harbor.
- to abandon abruptly: to pull out of an agreement.
- 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.
- pulitzer prizes,
- pulitzer, joseph,
- pull a boner,
- pull a fast one,
- pull about,
- pull away,
- pull back
Origin of pull
verb (mainly tr)
- 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
Word Origin for pull
c.1300, "to move forcibly by pulling, to drag," from Old English pullian "to pluck off (wool), to draw out," of unknown origin, perhaps related to Low German pulen "remove the shell or husk," Frisian pûlje "to shell, husk," Middle Dutch polen "to peel, strip," Icelandic pula "work hard."
Early 14c. as "to pick, pull off, gather" (fruit, flowers, berries, leaves, petals, etc.); mid-14c. as "to uproot, pull up" (of teeth, weeds, etc.). Sense of "to draw, attract" (to oneself) is from c.1400; sense of "to pluck at with the fingers" is from c.1400. Meaning "tear to pieces" is mid-15c. By late 16c. it had replaced draw in these senses. Related: Pulled; pulling.
Common in slang usages 19c.-20c.; Bartlett (1859) has to pull foot "walk fast; run;" pull it "to run." To pull up "check a course of action" is from 1808, figurative of the lifting of the reins in horse-riding. To pull (someone's) chain in figurative sense is from 1974, perhaps on the notion of a captive animal; the expression was also used for "to contact" (someone), on the notion of the chain that operates a signaling mechanism.
To pull (someone's) leg is from 1882, perhaps on notion of "playfully tripping" (cf. pull the long bow "exaggerate," 1830, and pulling someone's leg also sometimes was described as a way to awaken a sleeping person in a railway compartment, ship's berth, etc.). Thornton's "American Glossary" (1912) has pull (n.) "a jest" (to have a pull at (someone)), which it identifies as "local" and illustrates with an example from the Massachusetts "Spy" of May 21, 1817, which identifies it as "a Georgian phrase." To pull (one's) punches is from 1920 in pugilism, from 1921 figuratively. To pull in "arrive" (1892) and pull out "depart" (1868) are from the railroads.
To pull (something) off "accomplish, succeed at" is originally in sporting, "to win the prize money" (1870). To pull (something) on (someone) is from 1916; to pull (something) out of one's ass is Army slang from 1970s. To pull rank is from 1919; to pull the rug from under (someone) figuratively is from 1946.
c.1300, "a fishing net;" mid-14c., "a turn at pulling," from pull (v.). From mid-15c. as "an act of pulling." Meaning "personal or private influence" is by 1889, American English, from earlier sense "power to pull (and not be pulled by)" a rival or competitor (1580s).
pull oneself together
Regain one's composure or self-control, as in After that frightening episode, it took her a while to pull herself together. [Second half of 1800s]
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
- fast one, pull a
- have pull with
- like pulling teeth