Definition of pulley in English:


Line breaks: pul¦ley
Pronunciation: /ˈpʊli

noun (plural pulleys)

  • 1A wheel with a grooved rim around which a cord passes, which acts to change the direction of a force applied to the cord and is used to raise heavy weights.
    More example sentences
    • Prior to World War II, the sash (the parts that move) was counterweighted by a temperamental arrangement of cords, pulleys and iron weights.
    • It turned out to be a spare pulley used for lifting heavy equipment.
    • We come across bright ideas in books, like over-length lines passed through pulleys under floats and the excess taken up by counter-balancing weights.
  • 1.1A wheel or drum fixed on a shaft and turned by a belt, used for the application or transmission of power.
    More example sentences
    • Standard belt lengths between pulleys: 132 to 500 mm; widths between 10 and 200 mm.
    • There are V-belt constructions made up of sections that lock together, allowing you to wrap the belt around a trapped pulley and join the two ends.
    • Something else you don't do - you don't clear sap buildup from between a pulley and belt when the conveyor is running.

verb (pulleys, pulleying, pulleyed)

[with object] Back to top  
  • Hoist with a pulley: the tree house was built on the ground and pulleyed into the branches
    More example sentences
    • It's like being on a boat, sleeping on the bus, waking, buying a lift ticket, being pulleyed up the mountain, the payoff, the floating dance of linked telemark turns.
    • It was being pulleyed by several cords of thick rope overhead.


Middle English: from Old French polie, probably from a medieval Greek diminutive of polos 'pivot, axis'.

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