Definition of pulley in English:


Syllabification: pul·ley
Pronunciation: /ˈpo͝olē

noun (plural pulleys)

(also pulley wheel)
  • 1A wheel with a grooved rim around which a cord passes. It acts to change the direction of a force applied to the cord and is chiefly used (typically in combination) to raise heavy weights. Compare with block ( sense 7 of the noun).
    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.
  • 1.1(On a bicycle) a wheel with a toothed rim around which the chain passes.
    More example sentences
    • The upper pulley wheel is such a cool thing for rearward arc travel bikes.
    • The lower pulley wheel has no play and should be installed with the lettering facing away from your bicycle's frame.
  • 1.2A wheel or drum fixed on a shaft and turned by a belt, used especially to increase speed or 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.
    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'.

More definitions of pulley

Definition of pulley in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day astrogation
Pronunciation: ˌastrəˈgāSHən
(in science fiction) navigation in outer space