- 1 [usually with adverbial] Exert force on (someone or something), typically by taking hold of them, in order to move or try to move them toward oneself or the origin of the force: he pulled them down onto the couch [with object and complement]: I pulled the door shut behind me [no object]: the little boy pulled at her skirtMore example sentences
- It's the steady rhythm that maintains the circle, not a steady pull on the lunge line. Don't hold his head and pull him toward you to keep him on a circle.
- She starts pulling me towards the door and I am forced to follow.
- Finola grabbed both Scempt and Maylin's wrists and pulled them towards the door.
- 1.1(Of an animal or vehicle) be attached to the front and be the source of forward movement of (a vehicle): the carriage was pulled by four horsesMore example sentences
- His legs are racing forward like two horses pulling a runaway carriage and his arms circling outward in the air like two sailors tied to the mast of sinking ship.
- Animal lover Mrs Trueman's funeral carriage was pulled by the horses used in the recent funeral of East End gangster Reggie Kray.
- Just five or ten years ago, the potato men would have come down this street in a wooden wagon pulled by a horse.
- 1.2Take hold of and exert force on (something) so as to move it from a specified position or in a specified direction: she pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket he pulled on his boots I pulled up some onionsMore example sentences
- ‘We were supposedly to pull a name out of the hat as part of a game and I pulled out his,’ recalls Rona.
- Sam pulled out her black book and opened it, pulling a pencil from her bag.
- From behind his back, he pulled out a menu like he was a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat.
- 1.3 • informal Bring out (a weapon) to attack or threaten someone: it’s not every day a young woman pulls a gun on a burglarMore example sentences
- Have you ever had someone pull a gun on you?
- He allegedly pulled a gun on a youth football coach because his son wasn't getting enough playing time at a game in northeast Phiiladelphia.
- Cops claim he pulled a rifle on them when they were in his town house, allegedly looking for a burglar.
- 1.4 [no object] (pull at/on) Inhale deeply while smoking (a pipe or cigar).More example sentences
- He took a pull at his pipe.
- Filling them in our imagination with rugs and pack saddles and couched animals and merchants pulling on hookahs.
- He took another pull at the now half-gone smoke and leaned back again with a sudden hard grin.
- 1.5Damage (a muscle, ligament, etc.) by abnormal strain.More example sentences
- She felt like she had a back strain or pulled ligament in her right side above her hip.
- I knew someone who pulled both their hamstring muscles because they didn't stretch.
- Pleasurable when you get there but try not to pull a muscle or strain something else trying to saddle up.
- 1.6Print (a proof).More example sentences
- A proof sheet would be pulled, and read against the manuscript.
- Two proofs have been pulled and are propped side by side.
- 1.7 Computing Retrieve (an item of data) from the top of a stack.More example sentences
- Data may be pulled from a single knowledge base or multiple databases throughout the enterprise.
- The image database continues to pull from Google at this point.
- 2 [no object] (Of a vehicle or person) move steadily in a specified direction or to reach a specified point: the bus was about to pull away the boy pulled ahead and disappeared around the cornerMore example sentences
- It took Glenealy some time to settle but when they did they pulled steadily away to win in the end by an eight-point margin.
- His tractor was ‘breaking traction’ but was moving so he kept pulling ahead as the car was coming closer.
- His chance to move up the field came as those ahead started pulling into the pits for the obligatory wheel change.
- 2.1 [with adverbial of direction] (pull oneself) Move in a specified direction with effort, especially by taking hold of something and exerting force: he pulled himself into the saddleMore example sentences
- With great effort, she pulled herself back and slid her sword back against his blade.
- Marc moved his leg gingerly and with great effort pulled himself to his feet.
- With no small effort, the helicopter pulls itself 25 ft in the air and reveals that the horizon line is no longer a line at all but a squiggle drawn from 30,000 people standing in a row.
- 2.2Move one’s body in a specified direction, especially against resistance: she tried to pull away from himMore example sentences
- A chill descends down my spine as I pull away from the Caddy.
- He didn't make a move to stop her or pull away from her.
- I pull away from Jeremy, my left hand moving straight to my mouth.
- 2.3(Of an engine) exert propulsive force; deliver power: the engine warmed up quickly and pulled wellMore example sentences
- The fact that the rumble from those slash cut exhausts sounds most impressive when the engine's pulling from low revs might have had something to do with it…
- However, power is abundant, particularly from 3000 rpm upwards when the engine pulls particularly strongly, making it feel more like a petrol.
- That the engine pulls firmly, with a creamy, discreet blare, across a broad rev-range helps.
- 2.4Work oars to cause a boat to move: he pulled at the oars, and the boat moved swiftly through the waterMore example sentences
- In rowing, if you look like you're pulling hard you're not rowing the boat as efficiently as you can be.
- The breeze that filled the sail died down; they furled the sail and lowered the mast; then, once again, they pulled at the oars.
- Heading the little boat toward land the men pulled at the oars till nearly noon.
- 3Cause (someone) to patronize, buy, or show interest in something; attract: tourist attractions that pull in millions of foreign visitorsMore example sentences
- Aimed at 16-34 year olds, it's trying to pull an audience with new series of guaranteed crowd pleasers such as Friends and ER.
- Although predominantly a haunt of the over-35s, the Judges pulls a surprisingly diverse crowd.
- Although it has a large-screen TV, Miso pulls a youngish, clubby clientele more than a sports crowd.
- 3.1 • informal Carry out or achieve (something requiring skill, luck, or planning): the magazine pulled its trick of producing the right issue at the right timeMore example sentences
- The lefties on this site are pulling a classic liberal trick.
- The riot was a dirty trick which was pulled off through the use of deception, and Bloggergate is the same thing.
- We skated there for a while and everyone seemed to be pulling the newest tricks.
- 4 • informal Cancel or withdraw (an entertainment or advertisement): the gig was pulled at the first sign of difficultyMore example sentences
- A radio advert has been pulled from the airwaves after complaints that it caused offence to disabled people.
- It considered pulling a huge advertising splurge for Martell in the US due to the boycott threats.
- You claim that when Ford pulled its adverts it had no effect.
- 4.1North American Withdraw (a player) from a game: four of the leading eight runners were pulledMore example sentences
- When I said I was going to pull a player from a game tomorrow, it's not because I'm thinking he will be tired the next day.
- Narron has told all players that if they don't get to a base they are supposed to get to, they will be pulled from the game.
- He has shown he will pull any player who has a defensive lapse.
- 4.2Check the speed of (a horse), especially so as to make it lose a race.More example sentences
- Jockey Justin Sheehan said after that race that he had almost pulled the horse up midway through the race.
- As riders attempted to avoid the fallen horse, they pulled their horses up and effectively out of the race.
- 5chiefly Baseball & Golf Strike (a ball) in the direction of one’s follow-through so that it travels to the left or, with a left-handed player, to the right: he pulled the ball every time he hit a grounderMore example sentences
- Most players, including myself, tend to pull the ball to the left on uphill lies because leg drive is inhibited going into the slope.
- Lefthanded hitters pull the ball, and sure-handed righthanders slap the ball to the opposite field.
- If you swing down steeply and then follow through flat, you're likely to slice or pull the ball.
- 6 [no object] Football (Of a lineman) withdraw from position and cross parallel to and behind the line of scrimmage to block opposing players for a runner.More example sentences
- With the linemen pulling, there always is one defender who is unblocked.
- This means, that if the line is pulling from behind, the release will be angled that way.
- The key to success has been the ability of the team's athletic linemen to pull and clear room for the back.
nounBack to top
- 1An act of taking hold of something and exerting force to draw it toward one: give the hair a quick pull, and it comes out by the rootsMore example sentences
- Finish the pull with a quick rotation to clear the shoulder and arm for the first recovery.
- Slowly pulling the fly over the submerged branches it reached the edge of the danger zone, I let the fly drop down a few feet, then gave a couple of quick pulls.
- He gave it a quick pull to make sure it was secure.
- 1.1A handle to hold while pulling: the Cowboy Collection offers hand-forged iron drawer pullsMore example sentences
- With the plane disintegrating around him, O'Grady reached down between his knees and grabbed the pull handle of his ejection seat.
- Taking safety seriously whilst wearing a lifejacket, be aware of where the manual pull handle is, even if it is ‘automatic’.
- Made of 1800 denier polyester, it has a retractable pull handle and inline skate wheels.
- 1.2A deep draft of a drink: he unscrewed the cap from the flask and took another pullMore example sentences
- Tahr took a pull of her drink, then stared at it as if wishing it were something stronger.
- She looked at him and took a long pull of her drink.
- She takes a deep pull and starts coughing really hard and laughing at the same time.
- 1.3An act of sucking at a cigar or pipe: he took a pull on his cherootMore example sentences
- WIM takes a pull from a handmade cigarette, scoops the bones up without looking, then casts them again.
- Black & Mild cigars tasted a lot like black coffee from the initial pull.
- He laughed a little, putting the pipe back in his mouth for a long pull.
- 1.4An injury to a muscle or ligament caused by abnormal strain: he was taken out of the game with a hamstring pullMore example sentences
- The result has been few problems with hamstring pulls, rib-cage injuries and shoulder strains.
- He got more bruises and cuts, muscle pulls and strains than he could remember.
- He has worked diligently on his conditioning, hoping to prevent muscle pulls and strains, which have hampered him during the season.
- 1.5A printer’s proof.More example sentences
- Proof ‘pulls’ of World War propaganda posters are quite rare.
- Its first pulls are read as proof.
- 2 [in singular] A force drawing someone or something in a particular direction or course of action: the pull of the water tore her away the pull of her hometown was a strong oneMore example sentences
- The gravitational pull of the sun and moon cause a phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes, which makes the earth's axis move in a cone shape.
- The Sun, Earth and Moon were in alignment, which increased the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon on the Earth.
- If you go in feet first, the gravitational pull will be much stronger on your shoes than your head, tending to make you instantly thinner and taller.
- 2.1Something exerting an influence or attraction: one of the pulls of urban life is the opportunity of finding workMore example sentences
- Henry Street continues to exert a strong pull, attracting more shoppers than Grafton Street at all peak shopping periods this quarter.
- Strange, though, exerts a pull, it draws you in to a place you've never been and may not understand, but which takes on a palpable and seductive existence.
- Despite his track record Davies admits to being in awe of Doctor Zhivago, largely because the 1965 film version still exerts such a pull.
- 2.2The condition of being able to exercise influence: they were hamstrung without the political pull of the mayor’s officeMore example sentences
- Up to now if you had political pull or you could pressurise those who had you shunted yourself up the priority list ahead of schools in greater need.
- While the UK is number one in European biotechnology, there is far less market pull, especially within healthcare, in Europe compared with the US.
- Smaller companies without political pull will be liquidated if they don't fill the quota; larger companies will be left alone.
like pulling teeth
- • informal Extremely difficult to do: it had been like pulling teeth to extract these two small items from MooreMore example sentences
- Before his career took off, pulling girls was like pulling teeth.
- Journalists are writing over and over again that this is the most secretive military campaign in history, and that getting information from you and your colleagues is like pulling teeth.
- Here's something new to be struggling with apart from shorthand (which is still like pulling teeth - two and a bit weeks to go, it's getting down to the wire).
pull a face (or faces)
- see face.
pull a fast one
- see fast1.
pull someone's leg
- Deceive someone playfully; tease someone.More example sentences
tease someone, make fun of someone, tease, joke, make fun, fool, jest, joke with someone, play a (practical) joke on someone, play a trick on someone, make a monkey out of someone; hoax someone, fool someone, deceive someone, lead someone on, hoodwink someone, dupe someone, beguile someone, gull someoneplay a trick on, rag, pull the wool over someone's eyes• informal kid, rib, take for a ride, have on
- They think you're pulling their leg, having a joke.
- Ah, for God's sake, Ann, can't you see he's only pulling your leg, just winding you up, and you fell for it hook, line and sinker.
- Someone who doesn't know anything is pulling your leg.
pull out all the stops
- see stop.
pull the plug
- 1 • informal Prevent something from happening or continuing: the company pulled the plug on the deal because it was not satisfied with the termsMore example sentences
- With prospects for future sales looking good, ebookers hopes to cash in on the restructuring from earlier this year as it continues to pull the plug on less profitable parts of its business.
- Railtrack was placed into administration last autumn after Mr Byers pulled the plug on extra subsidies for the company, which manages maintenance and infrastructure on Britain's rail network.
- After being refused planning permission by Waterford Co. Council and deciding to contest this to An Bord Pleanála, the chain has now pulled the plug on their own appeal.
- 2 • informal Remove (a patient) from life support: we’ll be talking to people who pulled the plug on their mothersMore example sentences
- Kyle held her hand fast though, he remembered when she'd gone to the hospital when she was little and a doctor had pulled the plug on a life support unit connected to her cousin.
- I watched as Doctor Carmichael pulled the plug on the life support and Jaymes breathed his last.
- John himself was turned off when he ‘died’ in a hospital scene and they pulled the plug on his life support machine.
pull (one's) punches
- [usually with negative] Be less forceful, severe, or violent than one could be: a sharp-tongued critic who doesn’t pull his punchesMore example sentences
- I was still pulling my punches somewhat, since I've never punched another person for real, and I didn't want to hurt either of us - my knuckles, or their chest.
- For the truth is that he often pulls his punches.
- And, you know, there's always going to be the, you know, if you were to lose the case, somebody at some point saying you were pulling your punches because you wanted them to get convicted or this or that.
- see rank1.
pull one's socks up
- see sock.
- Make use of one’s influence and contacts to gain an advantage unofficially or unfairly.More example sentences
- She did him her best turns later on when she got her influential lovers to pull strings for him.
- Chastened by bitter internecine tenant warfare, battle-scarred managers frequently pull strings to ensure that all the baritones live on one side of the building, and all the heldentenors on the other.
- I do not know what awaits me there, because we are not a rich family who can contact lawyers and agencies and pull strings and have papers rushed through.
pull the strings
- Be in control of events or of other people’s actions.More example sentences
- You may have pulled the strings of a Government which has led a country to collapse?
- It's not the employees, it's the Government that is pulling the strings of employers.
- In his view, this will make it possible for the ruling majority to pull the strings of the supervisory body.
- Cooperate in a task or undertaking.More example sentences
- It was imperative that the community pulled together and co-operated in the future development of the area.
- So much for collective responsibility, of a team and their manager pulling together at a moment of crisis.
- Young players and weathered campaigners pulled together as a force that was more than a team.
pull oneself together
- Recover control of one’s emotions.More example sentences
- I pulled myself together, valiantly trying to not allow my emotions to show.
- I tried to pull myself together because I knew Karl would be out of the recovery room soon.
- This gave her a chance to recover, a chance to pull herself together.
pull one's weight
- Do one’s fair share of work.More example sentences
- As always we implore players to play all their games, you're a member of a team and must pull your weight and one point is often the difference between getting through or not.
- In order for a team or group to be successful everyone must work hard, in unison, and pull their weight.
- You went to training to prove to yourself, nobody else, that you're capable, not of being the best player, but of pulling your weight.
pull the wool over someone's eyes
- see wool.
pull back (or pull someone/something back)
- Retreat or cause troops to retreat from an area: the pact called on the rival forces to pull back and allow a neutral force to take controlMore example sentences
- Although all have agreed to a ceasefire and to pulling their forces back from the frontline, latest reports suggest that apart from Uganda none have withdrawn troops altogether.
- At that point, the division headquarters and support troops were pulled back to refit.
- South Korean and Bulgarian troops were pulled back to their bases, while New Zealand is withdrawing its engineers.
- (pull back) Withdraw from an undertaking: the party pulled back from its only positive policyMore example sentences
- Some are pressuring their banks to pull back, undercutting subsidiaries in East Europe.
- Consumers are pulling back on their spending amid the recession.
- Particularly after the health care debacle early on, she really pulled back.
pull something down
- 1Demolish a building.More example sentences
- Poorly designed office blocks could be pulled down and more landmark buildings erected to add to the town's famous glass pyramid and viaduct.
- As the wondrously ugly 1960 buildings are pulled down, beautiful Bradford is re-emerging.
- When he came to York, he stayed at a house in Queen Street, next door to Rowntree's, before these buildings were pulled down to make way for the factory's expansion.
- 2 • informal Earn a sum of money: he was pulling down sixty grandMore example sentences
- Bate once more pulled down $100,000 for his 30 hours a week.
- As the attentive and charming maître d' of one of America's top restaurants, Jamais pulled down $300,000 to $400,000 a year (much of it in tips).
- 1(Of a vehicle or its driver) move to the side of or off the road: he pulled in at the curbMore example sentences
- As I pulled in to the side of the road, the crisis quickly vanished.
- When the vehicle pulls in, service personnel know what's wrong and can immediately fix it without spending time doing unnecessary tests.
- Trucks pulled in on the other side of the dirt road and Bo nodded to them as they waved in her direction.
- 2(Of a bus or train) arrive to take passengers.More example sentences
- There is a 30-minute wait standing in the cold on Platform 3 before the train finally pulls in at 3.45 pm.
- A train pulls in to the Angus ‘ghost’ station early in the morning and another calls late at night.
- Westminster station is unusually busy, and when the Richmond train pulls in, there's nowhere to sit.
pull someone/something in
- 1Succeed in securing or obtaining something: the Reform Party pulled in 10% of the voteMore example sentences
- His notoriety pulled in enough votes more than 52,000 to secure a ballot line in future elections.
- The host didn't pull in huge numbers in the U.S., but it pulled in enough attention.
- 1.1 • informal Earn a sum of money: you could pull in $100,000More example sentences
- In 2005, the company's four executives and directors pulled in $100,000 combined.
- ‘You lose some, you win some,’ he said airily, adding that he now pulls in $300,000 an hour during appearances every other month on QVC, with which he has had a contract for eight years.
- 2 • informal Arrest someone: I’d pull him in for questioningMore example sentences
- And then pulling people in for interviews, arresting certain people, offering certain deals for certain people at a low level to rat out somebody at a higher level.
- In the latter case, the shop developing the prints alerted the police, who pulled Somerville in for questioning.
- Then it would be over zealous Spanish cops who decided to pull the suspect in.
- 3Use reins to check a horse.More example sentences
- Soaps give a strong presence and endorsement to their women characters, but it is important to note that at some points the reins are pulled in.
- The same thing happened to this story about the Football Association pulling the reins in on Fanzine reporting of fixtures lists.
- If you believe you can pull the reins in or believe that you do have some control about the outcome, there's a greater likelihood - at least I believe - that you will not drink as much.
pull something off
- • informal Succeed in achieving or winning something difficult: he pulled off a brilliant first round winMore example sentences
- Going public will make it more difficult to pull the scheme off a second time, and may give them an unsavoury reputation in some quarters.
- These four albums will show you why he simultaneously succeeded and failed to pull it off.
- Mr Ahern may have difficulty in pulling this trick off.
- 1Withdraw from an undertaking: he was forced to pull out of the championship because of an injuryMore example sentences
- Both parties can pull out of the mediation process if they are unsatisfied but a signed mediation agreement is legally binding.
- The 1992 agreement allows either party to pull out of the pact 12 months after providing formal written notice to the other side.
- Hunter was forced to pull out of the Games and take early retirement.
- 1.1Retreat or cause to retreat from an area: the army pulled out, leaving the city in ruins (pull someone out) the CIA had pulled its operatives out of TripoliMore example sentences
- The military had been sent to keep martial law, but because of the wars, they were pulled out.
- Pictures of hunger in Somalia beckoned U.S. troops in, pictures of American soldiers in 1993 pulled us out.
- The President pulled them out and went to war anyway, over their objections.
- 2(Of a bus or train) leave with its passengers.More example sentences
- Corinne and I managed to choose a carriage with a bunch of Geordie blokes who started drinking as soon as the train pulled out of the station, at about half ten in the morning.
- When every man was in possession of two bottles of Tiger beer, the train pulled out of Nagpur Station to continue the five-day journey.
- The doors closed and the train pulled out of the station.
- 3(Of a vehicle or its driver) move out from the side of the road, or from its normal position in order to pass: as he turned the corner, a police car pulled out in front of himMore example sentences
- Time and time again I put my foot down in that Beemer, pulled out to overtake the Rover, and then when I was on the wrong side of the road simply ran out of oomph.
- A man driving a Vauxhall Corsa car pulled out from a slip road and clipped the side of a lorry.
- They also tend to pull in, leaving the second half of the bus in the middle of the road, then pull out when people are overtaking the bus.
- (Of a vehicle or its driver) move to the side of or off the road.More example sentences
- Edward stopped the car on a deserted stretch of road, pulling over to the side.
- I got so scared at one stage I had to pull over on the open road and do deep breaths and wait for my hands to shake a little less.
- Unable to drive properly while laughing, Derek pulled over to the side of the road to settle down.
pull someone over
- Cause a driver to move to the side of the road to be charged for a traffic offense: he was pulled over for speedingMore example sentences
- The morning after we arrived we were caught up in a police road block where we were pulled over and questioned.
- Briefly stated, the applicant was driving a vehicle when he was pulled over by police, searched, arrested for possession of contraband cigarettes contrary to the Excise Act of Canada and the vehicle and its boxed contents seized.
- I'm the police officer who pulled you over once because one of your taillights were out.
pull through (or pull someone/something through)
- Get through or enable someone or something to get through an illness or other dangerous or difficult situation: the illness is difficult to overcome, but we hope she’ll pull throughMore example sentences
- He lived with me in the first year and pulled me through all the difficult moments.
- I only hoped it would be enough to pull me through this situation.
- If you find yourself in a position where you hope for luck to pull you through, you're in serious trouble.
- 1(Of a vehicle or its driver) come to a halt: he pulled up outside the cabinMore example sentences
- If I remember correctly, it was the sound of the ice-cream van pulling up outside my house.
- She was gobsmacked when the limo pulled up outside her home in Tattershall, Toothill.
- When a police vehicle pulls up youngsters hide in the bushes.
- 2Increase the altitude of an aircraft.More example sentences
- The airplane nicely recovered by smoothly pulling up to level flight.
- Pull up in a high sharp wing-over and then dive on your enemy.
- So low in fact, that the pilots had to pull up slightly to get the plane on the runway!
pull someone up
- Cause someone to stop or pause; check someone: the shock of his words pulled her up shortMore example sentences
- It was the fact that student was Aboriginal that pulled me up short.
- He pulled her up short as he spotted a buggy approaching at a reckless speed.
- Then the minutest discrepancy pulled him up short: a menacing shape, a suspicious change in the texture of the ground, an unusual sound or perhaps the movement of some prey.
- Reprimand someone.More example sentences
- Father would quiz us constantly and if we did not know the answers, we would be pulled up sharply.
- I wish I had pulled her up on it, rather than simply accepting it.
- It seems strange to pull someone up for being too polished (kinda like being stopped by a cop for being too good a driver).
- More example sentences
- Also there was a trilogy of educational walking tours - a take on the cheesy Jack the Ripper-esque tourist pullers - which saw a variety of historical figures haunting the streets of Soho, Vauxhall and Brick Lane for the day.
- These people provided an abundance of cheap labour for the growing city - porters, factory workers and rickshaw pullers; some even ended up as gangsters and prostitutes.
- In 1982, Batcha took part in a rally of rickshaw pullers in the city against ‘police harassment’ in the interest of getting a good story for his magazine.
Old English pullian 'pluck, snatch'; origin uncertain; the sense has developed from expressing a short sharp action to one of sustained force.