See more synonyms for pull 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: to pull a sled up a hill.
  2. to draw or tug at with force.
  3. to rend or tear: to pull a cloth to pieces.
  4. to draw or pluck away from a place of growth, attachment, etc.: to pull a tooth; to pull weeds.
  5. to strip of feathers, hair, etc., as a bird or hide.
  6. 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?
  7. Informal. to perform successfully (often followed by off): They pulled a spectacular coup.
  8. 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?
  9. to put on or affect: He pulled a long face when I reprimanded him.
  10. to withdraw or remove: to pull an ineffective pitcher.
  11. to attract or win: to pull many votes in the industrial areas.
  12. to bring (a horse) to a stand by pulling on the reins.
  13. Printing, Graphics. to take (an impression or proof) from type, a cut or plate, etc.: to pull a print.
  14. to be provided with or rowed with (a certain number of oars): This boat pulls 12 oars.
  15. to propel by rowing, as a boat.
  16. to strain (a muscle, ligament, or tendon).
  17. Military. to be assigned (a specific task or duty): I pulled guard duty our first night in port.
  18. to hold in or check (a racehorse), especially so as to prevent from winning.
  19. 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.
  3. to become or come as specified, by being pulled: This rope will pull.
  4. to row.
  5. to proceed by rowing.
  6. (of an advertisement)
    1. to have effectiveness, as specified: The ad pulled badly.
    2. to be effective: That spot announcement really pulled!
  1. the act of pulling or drawing.
  2. force used in pulling; pulling power.
  3. 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.
  4. Informal. influence, as with persons able to grant favors.
  5. a part or thing to be pulled; a handle or the like: to replace the pulls on a chest of drawers.
  6. a spell, or turn, at rowing.
  7. a stroke of an oar.
  8. Informal. a pulled muscle: He missed a week's work with a groin pull.
  9. a pulling of the ball, as in baseball or golf.
  10. Informal. the ability to attract; drawing power.
  11. Informal. an advantage over another or others.
Verb Phrases
  1. pull away,
    1. to move or draw back or away; withdraw.
    2. to free oneself with force: He tried to pull away from his opponent's powerful grip.
    3. 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,
    1. to draw downward: to pull a shade down.
    2. to demolish; wreck.
    3. to lower; reduce.
    4. Informal.to receive as a salary; earn: It wasn't long before he was pulling down more than fifty thousand a year.
  3. pull for, to support actively; encourage: They were pulling for the Republican candidate.
  4. pull in,
    1. to reach a place; arrive: The train pulled in early.
    2. to tighten; curb: to pull in the reins.
    3. Informal.to arrest (someone): The police pulled her in for questioning.
  5. pull off, Informal. to perform successfully, especially something requiring courage, daring, or shrewdness: We'll be rich if we can pull the deal off.
  6. pull out,
    1. to leave; depart: The ship pulled out of the harbor.
    2. to abandon abruptly: to pull out of an agreement.
  7. 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.
  8. pull through, to come safely through (a crisis, illness, etc.); survive: The patient eventually pulled through after having had a close brush with death.
  9. pull up,
    1. to bring or come to a halt.
    2. to bring or draw closer.
    3. to root up; pull out: She pulled up all the crab grass in the lawn.
  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.
  3. pull someone's leg. leg(def 24).
  4. pull the plug on. plug(def 35).

Origin of pull

before 1000; Middle English pullen (v.), 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
Related formspull·a·ble, adjectivepull·er, noun

Synonym study

2. See draw.

Antonyms for pull

2. push.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pull out

depart, retire, stop, evacuate, leave, exit, withdraw, abandon, retreat, go

British Dictionary definitions for pull out

pull out

verb (adverb)
  1. (tr) to extract
  2. (intr) to departthe train pulled out of the station
  3. military to withdraw or escape or be withdrawn or rescued, as from a difficult situation
  4. (intr) (of a motor vehicle, driver, etc)
    1. to draw away from the side of the road
    2. to draw out from behind another vehicle to overtake
  5. (intr) to abandon a position or situation, esp a dangerous or embarrassing one
  6. (foll by of) to level out or cause to level out (from a dive)
noun pull-out
  1. an extra leaf of a book that folds out
  2. a removable section of a magazine, etc
  3. a flight manoeuvre during which an aircraft levels out after a dive
  4. a withdrawal from a position or situation, esp a dangerous or embarrassing one


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; extractto pull a tooth
  3. to strip of feathers, hair, etc; pluck
  4. to draw the entrails from (a fowl)
  5. to rend or tear
  6. to strain (a muscle, ligament, or tendon) injuriously
  7. (usually foll by off) informal to perform or bring aboutto pull off a million-pound deal
  8. (often foll by on) informal to draw out (a weapon) for usehe pulled a knife on his attacker
  9. informal to attractthe pop group pulled a crowd
  10. (also intr) slang to attract (a sexual partner)
  11. (intr; usually foll by on or at) to drink or inhale deeplyto pull at one's pipe; pull on a bottle of beer
  12. to put on or make (a grimace)to pull a face
  13. (also intr; foll by away, out, over, etc) to move (a vehicle) or (of a vehicle) be moved in a specified mannerhe pulled his car away from the roadside
  14. printing to take (a proof) from type
  15. to withdraw or removethe board decided to pull their support
  16. 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)
  17. cricket to hit (a ball pitched straight or on the off side) to the leg side
  18. hurling to strike (a fast-moving ball) in the same direction as it is already moving
  19. (also intr) to row (a boat) or take a stroke of (an oar) in rowing
  20. to be rowed bya racing shell pulls one, two, four, or eight oars
  21. (of a rider) to restrain (a horse), esp to prevent it from winning a race
  22. (intr) (of a horse) to resist strongly the attempts of a rider to rein in or check it
  23. pull a fast one slang to play a sly trick
  24. pull apart or pull to pieces to criticize harshly
  25. pull your head in Australian informal be quiet!
  26. pull one's punches
    1. informalto restrain the force of one's criticisms or actions
    2. boxingto restrain the force of one's blows, esp when deliberately losing after being bribed, etc
  27. pull one's weight informal to do one's fair or proper share of a task
  28. pull strings informal to exercise personal influence, esp secretly or unofficially
  29. 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 pullingthe pull of the moon affects the tides on earth
  3. the act or an instance of taking in drink or smoke
  4. something used for pulling, such as a knob or handle
  5. informal special advantage or influencehis uncle is chairman of the company, so he has quite a lot of pull
  6. informal the power to attract attention or support
  7. a period of rowing
  8. a single stroke of an oar in rowing
  9. the act of pulling the ball in golf, cricket, etc
  10. the act of checking or reining in a horse
  11. the amount of resistance in a bowstring, trigger, etc
Derived Formspuller, noun

Word Origin for pull

Old English pullian; related to Icelandic pūla to beat
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

Word Origin and History for pull out



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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with pull out

pull out


Leave, depart, as in The bus pulled out at noon. [Mid-1800s]


Withdraw from an undertaking, as in After the crash many investors pulled out of the market. [Late 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

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.