Definition of draw in English:

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Pronunciation: /drɔː/

verb (past drew /druː/; past participle drawn /drɔːn/)

[with object]
1Produce (a picture or diagram) by making lines and marks on paper with a pencil, pen, etc. he drew a map
More example sentences
  • Each picture was carefully drawn with pencil and then color was added, much as his mature artwork was done.
  • This is part of the Swindon Music Festival and children taking part have been asked to design and draw a picture that represents the festival.
  • Pictures must be drawn in pencil, black ink or charcoal so that they can be copied onto the front page.
1.1Produce an image of (someone or something) by making lines and marks on paper: I asked her to draw me [no object]: you’re at art college, you must be able to draw
More example sentences
  • Dodger took another piece of paper and drew a cone with a wide base and a line near the bottom to show the ground; then near the top he put in a small circle connected to the cone by a line.
  • In one of his last cartoons for the paper, Sherffius drew a Republican elephant riding a pig representing pork-barrel projects.
  • When police gave him a sheet of paper, he drew a grand piano.
sketch, make a drawing (of), make a diagram (of), pencil;
do drawings
literary limn
1.2Trace or produce (a line or mark) on a surface: she drew a wavering line down the board
More example sentences
  • He was an intelligent man and drew a line delineating that region of South Australia that experienced, by and large, reliable rainfall, from that which did not.
  • But to understand and analyze the overall debate, it is useful to draw the boundary lines with broad brushstrokes.
  • To help rectify this, Council will begin by redefining the city boundary - drawing a line beyond which transport and bulk services will not be offered.
2Pull or drag (something such as a vehicle) so as to make it follow behind: a cart drawn by two horses
More example sentences
  • He introduced ambulances volantes, light, two-wheeled, sprung vehicles, drawn by two horses, for the rapid evacuation of the wounded.
  • Behind him, drawn by two milky oxen, was a cart laid with cloth of purple.
  • The peasant I had seen on my way to Evora that morning, trudging a field behind a hand-plough drawn by a pair of bullocks, might have been his father.
2.1 [with object and adverbial of direction] Pull or move (something) in a specified direction: I drew back the blanket and uncovered the body
More example sentences
  • As she moves back, she draws her hands around my neck and then toward her.
  • She moved closer, drawing her hand along his cheek.
  • For a moment I was blinded by pain and I pulled back, drawing my arm against my chest.
pull, haul, drag, tug, heave, trail, trawl, tow;
Irish  streel
informal yank, lug
archaic hale
2.2 [with object and adverbial of direction] Gently pull or guide (someone) in a specified direction: David,’ she whispered, drawing him aside
More example sentences
  • She pulled his shirt, drawing him closer to her and whispered in his ear.
  • He drew her to him gently, holding her against him, and she didn't resist but let herself turn fluid in his arms, let the touch of his lips on her face wash over her like a tide.
  • Completely undone, she drew him gently into her arms and held him.
2.3 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move somewhere in a slow steady way: the train drew in to the station
More example sentences
  • There had been about 90 of them, and I only managed to collect about half before the train drew into the station.
  • He slowed as he drew near, like he sensed there was something there.
  • At that moment I heard footsteps which slowed as they drew closer to my door.
move, go, come, walk, proceed, progress, travel, continue, advance, get, make it, make one's way, pass, make a move, drive;
crawl, creep, inch, roll, glide, cruise, drift, nose;
sneak, steal, slip, slink, sidle;
bear, press, blow, forge, sweep, lurch, be carried;
budge, stir, shift, change position
rare locomote
2.4 [no object, with adverbial] Come to or arrive at a point in time or in a process: the campaign drew to a close
More example sentences
  • With Spring Festival having arrived and Valentine's Day drawing near, the number of flowers that will be sold is expected to reach a record high.
  • As each one drew to a close, thousands had gathered in the square to watch as the light faded in the evening sky and brightened simultaneously in the room where the Pope lay.
  • It drew to a close with ‘Hosanna’, composed by Caleb Simper.
2.5Pull (curtains) shut or open: do you want me to draw the curtains?
More example sentences
  • She pulled the heavy window shut, drew the curtains, and fell sleepily onto the bed.
  • I switched off my bedside lamp and drew open the curtains.
  • She drew open the shower curtain and closed the shower.
close, shut, pull together, pull shut, pull to, draw to, lower;
open, part, pull back, pull open, fling open, raise
2.6Make (wire) by pulling a piece of metal through successively smaller holes.
Example sentences
  • The structure of heavily drawn wire or rolled sheet consists of very long interlocking grains.
  • Aluminum wire, drawn from rolled rod, may be stranded into cable of any desired size and type.
3Extract (an object) from a container or receptacle: he drew his gun and peered into the gloomy apartment
More example sentences
  • A violent row broke out between the four men at which stage the two attackers drew Samurai swords and attempted to slash their victims.
  • Cecil quickly drew his other sword, and took a defensive stance.
  • And he drew off the contents of the cyst with a needle.
4Take or obtain (liquid) from a container or receptacle: a wheel was built to draw water from the well he drew off a pint of bitter
More example sentences
  • The oil container draws the oil into the wicks so they will burn continuously.
  • As the tall man walked over to Shacago, the nurse drew some almost translucent liquid out of a bottle and into a thick needle.
  • Vacuum filters often use cloth or wire screen to hold the solids as the liquid is drawn through.
drain, extract, withdraw, remove, suck, pump, siphon, milk, bleed, tap, void, filter, pour, tip, discharge, transfer
4.1Run (a bath): I would have been drawing his bath
More example sentences
  • When Coleman returned to his home after his days on the street, Mac Donald reports, he drew himself a hot bath, got into it and started to cry.
  • To complete the effect, feel free to draw yourself a hot bath, and crawl in the tub with a nice cup of tea and a spreadsheet.
  • She made her way out of bed and drew herself a hot bath.
4.2 (draw something from) Obtain something from (a particular source): an independent panel of judges drawn from members of the public
More example sentences
  • These four talented musicians draw their inspiration from widely varied sources of music.
  • Historians now drew their inspiration from indigenous language sources and local colonial archives.
  • In contrast, civilization's three previous historic forms of government drew their power from different sources.
4.3 (draw on) Use (one’s experience, talents, or skills) as a resource: Sue has a lot of past experience to draw on
More example sentences
  • ‘They developed the product and we can still draw on their talent and experience,’ said Braun.
  • They have incredible resources, and can draw on talent from all over the world, and the standard of competition there really has no peer.
  • Fremantle drew on his past experience in presenting yet another option.
4.4Obtain or withdraw (money) from a bank or other source: now I just draw out a spending allowance every week
More example sentences
  • My mother has never paid a bill, written a cheque or drawn money from the bank in her life.
  • When so much importance and security is given to draw one's own money from a bank, why not show similar care for one's health?
  • What is interesting is that all private sector industries are being run with money drawn from publicly owned banks.
4.5 Hunting Search (cover) for game: many a time she had seen the hounds draw such a covert
4.6 Bridge (Of the declarer) force the defenders to play (cards in a particular suit) by leading cards in that suit: before establishing his diamonds, declarer must draw trumps
More example sentences
  • The player who drew the trump card keeps it and begins phase two.
  • The declarer then draws an equal number of cards from the top of the heap, including the face-up trump card if the contract is vuelta.
  • Any player who draws a card of the trump rank during the deal may place it face up on the table, and its suit then becomes trumps for the hand.
4.7 (draw on) Suck smoke from (a cigarette or pipe): she drew heavily on her cigarette
More example sentences
  • She lit a cigarette, her fingers brown from nicotine, and wheezed as she drew on the unfiltered smoke.
  • ‘I loathe him,’ he said as he drew on a cigarette outside his office.
  • He drew on his cigarette dramatically, exhaling with an equally dramatic sigh.
4.8 [no object] (Of a chimney, flue, or fire) allow air to flow in and upwards freely, so that a fire can burn: failure of a fire to draw properly can have a number of causes
More example sentences
  • The chimney was drawing well and the smoke was quickly sucked out of the room.
4.9Take in (a breath): Mrs Feather drew a long breath
More example sentences
  • So back we go to Brewer, Pennsylvannia, as the century draws its last wheezy breaths where everything's changed and nothing's very different.
  • Joe drew a few deep breaths and turned angrily on his heel.
  • I drew a few ragged breaths and fought to regain my composure.
4.10 [no object] (Of tea) be left standing so that the flavour is extracted from the leaves: a pot of tea is allowed to draw
4.11Disembowel: after a mockery of a trial he was hanged, drawn, and quartered
5Be the cause of (a specified response): he drew criticism for his lavish spending
More example sentences
  • I write to address criticisms drawn in response to my call for a secret ballot.
  • The exhibition drew such a strong response from visitors that Cartwright Hall decided to have a permanent collection of calligraphy from the Muslim world.
  • While the paragraph on the Holocaust draws the most emotional responses, other points have also sparked criticism.
5.1Attract (someone) to come to a place or an event: you really drew the crowds with your playing
More example sentences
  • The monsters and other sci-fi characters are the attractions that draw people to our events, and help us raise money.
  • This eagerly anticipated annual event once again drew the crowds and this time there was the added attraction of an extra race on the town centre circuit.
  • Not only does he brew the tsipouro, he's also a talented singer, and was ‘in concert’ for guests one night, an event which also drew a large audience of locals.
attract, interest, win, capture, catch the eye of, catch, catch hold of, hold, grip, engage, allure, lure, entice, invite;
5.2Induce (someone) to reveal or do something: he refused to be drawn on what would happen
More example sentences
  • But he was drawn into experimenting with drugs as he grew older.
  • By the way, if ever you're drawn into betting on the mee-pok man, here's a tip.
  • United manager Alex Smith was also drawn on the topic afterwards.
5.3Direct or attract (someone’s attention) to something: it was an outrage and we had to draw people’s attention to it a bright red instantly draws the eye
More example sentences
  • Not since the Getty Center has a new Los Angeles building attracted the attention drawn by the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
  • Angelos caught her hand, which muted her thoughts and drew her attention instantly in alarm.
  • It glittered with the intensity of the sun, then brighter, drawing everyone's attention to her instead.
5.4Reach (a conclusion) by deduction or inference from a set of circumstances: the moral to be drawn is that spending wins votes
More example sentences
  • It depends upon inferences to be drawn from various circumstances.
  • So Rushton's use of this data to draw the conclusions he reaches about hereditability is sound in my opinion.
  • I can see that there could be circumstances where one would draw that conclusion.
deduce, infer, conclude, derive, gather, glean
formal educe
5.5Formulate or perceive (a comparison or distinction): the law drew a clear distinction between innocent and fraudulent misrepresentation
More example sentences
  • In my view, the law draws a clear distinction between fiduciary duties and other duties that may be owed by a person in a fiduciary position.
  • Third, if a distinction is to be drawn between the law as it applies to packaging and to advertisements, precisely where does one end and the other begin?
  • To make it clear, South Australia draws no such distinction.
6Finish (a contest or game) with an even score: [with object and complement]: Brazil had drawn a stormy match 1-1 [no object, with complement]: they drew 0-0 in 1974
More example sentences
  • He lost twice and drew three games to finish a distant 31st with 7.5 points.
  • Passage won five of the six games played and drew the other.
  • Yorkshire showed several changes from the side which drew their Championship match against Lancashire at Old Trafford last week.
7(In bowls) cause (a bowl) to travel in a curve determined by its bias to the desired point.
7.1 Golf Hit (the ball) so that it deviates slightly, usually as a result of spin: he had to learn to draw the ball—not least for the tee shots at Augusta Compare with fade.
More example sentences
  • If you're doing the drill correctly, the ball should even draw slightly.
  • If the lie angle is slightly upright, it might draw the ball a little, but the effect on ball flight is minimal.
  • We went down to see him a couple of days later, and he basically taught me about drawing and cutting the ball.
8(Of a ship) require (a specified depth of water) to float in: boats that draw only a few inches of water
More example sentences
  • A Viking ship typically drew only about three feet of water and they were experts at sailing on rivers.
  • Vessels drawing 22.5 feet of water have also come direct to the quay.
9 [no object] (Of a sail) be filled with wind: as the sail drew, he put the helm over to circle back


1An act of selecting names randomly to decide winners in a lottery, opponents in a sporting contest, etc. the draw has been made for this year’s tournament
More example sentences
  • There were 19 names in the draw and the lucky winner was Mariel Campion, Ballyhemmon.
  • ‘I'm happy to have got the win and got our names in the draw,’ said coach Gary Moorby after the victory.
  • This was followed by a random draw of names from the entire ship's company to work in that space.
raffle, lottery, sweepstake, sweep, tombola, ballot
British trademark Instants
North American  lotto, numbers game/pool/racket;
Australian/New Zealand  tote, pakapoo
2An even score at the conclusion of a game or match: he scored twice to force a 4-4 draw
More example sentences
  • This season the Berkshire club have lost only four times in 21 games, with seven wins and three draws from 13 league matches.
  • A short-rising ball from Farmer was unplayable by the batsman and the match ended as a draw with the scores tied.
  • But despite his efforts, it's not enough: the points are still even and the match is a draw.
2.1 Cricket A game which is left incomplete for lack of time, regardless of the scores. Compare with tie.
Example sentences
  • Four out of the six games have been draws and the pitch has become great to bat on even on the fifth day, as we saw a couple of years ago when New Zealand were here.
  • Pakistan needed to take ten wickets while India needed to make 358 runs on the final day to win or play out six hours to ensure that the game ended in a draw.
  • By this time, the game was certain to be a draw, with only four sessions of play left.
3A person or thing that is very attractive or interesting: the museum has turned out to be a big draw for school children in the city
More example sentences
  • Celtic are a famous club and will be an attractive draw for our fans.
  • This was one of the biggest draws at of Lollapalooza.
  • All of these hallmarks of the American dream are a powerful draw.
4An act of drawing on a cigarette: she took a long draw on her cigarette
More example sentences
  • Leo was shaking his head and taking long draws from his cigarette.
  • He took a deep draw at his cigarette, trying to calm his nerves.
  • After taking a long draw from the cigarette he removed it from his lips and exhaled a cloud of smoke that wafted away in the wind.
4.1 [mass noun] British informal Cannabis: they’re dropping Es and smoking draw
More example sentences
  • He has no immediate ambitions beyond smoking his beloved draw.
  • I will walk until someone stops me, to ask me the time, ask me for a light, ask me if I've got any draw.
5An act of pulling a gun from its holster in order to shoot: he went for the quick draw and levelled a long-barrelled pistol at all of us
More example sentences
  • It can also make your draw from holster or pocket a little more difficult as fabric tends to cling to the rubber stocks.
  • It's because when I was working with the police, that was a - what I call a quick draw, just like that.
  • A post or an undercut front sight may snag on the bottom of the holster loop during your draw.
6 Golf A shot causing the ball to deviate slightly: most high handicappers would benefit from a controlled draw
More example sentences
  • In effect, this closes the clubface slightly and allows you to hit straight shots or draws.
  • Ideally, the grip you feel now should produce a straight shot or slight draw.
  • Though this drill is normally used to help cure the slice swing of a beginner, it can help a good player make the switch from fading the ball to hitting a draw.


On the confusion of draw and drawer, see drawer (usage).



draw a bead on

see bead.

draw a blank

see blank.

draw blood

Cause someone to bleed, especially in the course of a fight: the blow drew blood from the corner of his mouth
More example sentences
  • On a bad day, Barney might get into a fight with another dog, growling and scratching and fighting and trying to draw blood.
  • But nobody would really want to fight if a vampire draws blood with no malice.
  • This time, her blow drew blood from the monster.

draw someone's fire

Attract hostile criticism away from a more important target: the concession will go some way to draw the fire of the government’s critics
More example sentences
  • Jewel then charges alongside the buffet, finally attracting the soldiers' attention and drawing their fire.
  • Word is they know our plans and the General has a gambit to draw their fire before they can use that knowledge against us.
  • The comments regarding the subordination of women in First Corinthians, Ephesians and Timothy were points which easily drew my fire.

draw lots

see lot.

draw the short straw

see straw.

draw stumps

Cricket Take the stumps out of the ground at close of play: I drew stumps swearing to myself I’d never umpire again
More example sentences
  • ‘His owner was thinking about retirement anyway, and this could give him the excuse to draw stumps,’ trainer Mark Johnston told Racing Post.
  • So that it is not a case of, at least at the moment, my seeing it as one where you have to draw stumps, go away and start again in the Federal Court.

quick on the draw

Very fast in taking one’s gun from its holster.
Example sentences
  • The tourists who lost their lives were just two in thousands; the policeman, a bit quick on the draw, no doubt and on the trigger too, was acting in defense of his own daughter and over-reacted, but can he really be blamed?
  • Trench, ever quick on the draw, drew a shotgun out of his trench-coat and quickly pointed it at the abomination in their midst.
  • The worst corporate bandits are still likely to face a sheriff who's quick on the draw.
8.1Very fast in acting or reacting.
Example sentences
  • You've got to be very quick on the draw, because a horse can stumble leaving the gate, and you got plan A. All of a sudden, because of the break or the bad break, you have to go to plan B, and you've got to be able to adjust very quickly.
  • Experience and necessity - so many books, so little time - have made Ms. Hensley quick on the draw.
  • He obviously learned from past mistakes when he was too quick on the draw in dismissing three former senators.

Phrasal verbs


draw back

Choose not to do something that one was expected to do: the government has drawn back from attempting reform
More example sentences
  • Both companies looked at floating two years ago but drew back in the face of falling share prices.
  • It draws back from the frenzied pursuit of marketing novelties and technological turnover and assumes the measured pace of humane and sustainable values.
  • The genial married priest, who has six children, draws back from calling the people of the area pagans and denies he came from Uganda to convert.

draw something down

(or draw down)
Reduce the size of a military force in an area: more had to be done before the US could begin to draw down its forces in any significant number we need to start letting them stand on their own feet, and that isn’t going to happen until we start drawing down
More example sentences
  • There are good reasons to fund the country's experiment in democracy, even as the U.S. draws down its military forces there.
  • When is the U.S. military going to be able to begin drawing down its forces and bringing them home?
  • This has nothing to do with drawing down the American military presence overall in that part of the world, does it?
2.1Withdraw money from a fund or loan facility: I’m not actually going to be drawing down any of the loan until early 1999 she would have to draw down on her $253,000 investments at a rate of 7.2 per cent
More example sentences
  • With his wife still working, the husband shouldn't have to draw down all his retirement stash.
  • Despite pessimists' fears, the U.S. is not drawing down national wealth to pay for imports.
  • Some 70 million baby boomers will soon draw down trillions in government payments.
2.2Withdraw water, oil, or gas from a reservoir or repository: the state began drawing down some of its stored water
More example sentences
  • Adding to this gloomy scenario is the fact that reservoirs in northeastern Colorado have been drawn down substantially.
  • Our state's reservoirs and soil profiles were drawn down this summer.
  • Geologist David Bainbridge of Alliant International University also points out that there are scant few penalties against users who draw down water tables or deplete aquifers.

draw in

(Of successive days) become shorter because of the changing seasons.
3.1(Of a day) approach its end.
Example sentences
  • As the night draws in my friend embraces me with cool arms.
3.2(Of successive evenings or nights) start earlier because of the changing seasons: the nights were drawing in fast
More example sentences
  • But he warned that motorists parking in residential streets were also vulnerable as the winter evenings draw in and criminals look to operate under the cover of darkness.
  • Winter accidents involving cycles peak in the darkest months as the nights draw in, especially in December and even more so January, when they reach their highest levels.
  • With winter well and thoroughly upon us and the long nights drawing in, you could be sure that Pantomime season was not very far away.

draw on

(Of a period of time) pass by and approach its end: he remembered sitting in silence with his grandmother as evening drew on
More example sentences
  • The afternoon came and went; night drew on; few cars passed; none stopped.
  • The evening drew on, the bats came out, and when the light faded to the point where I couldn't read another word, we repaired to the kitchen where I snapped on the lights.
  • She said research had shown that evenings were an area of weakness in York's tourism industry, with streets that were packed by day becoming empty as evening drew on.

draw something on

Put an item of clothing on: he drew on his dressing gown

draw out

(Of successive days) become longer because of the changing seasons: she talked about the snowdrops and how the days were beginning to draw out

draw someone out

Gently or subtly persuade someone to talk or become more expansive: she drew me out and flattered me
More example sentences
  • Delia's final summary: ‘The sessions have been very motivating and positive and Susan and I were on the same wavelength; she made me relaxed and drew me out well.’
  • But Hill drew him out, helped him clarify his clichés and energise his anecdotes.
  • Millar draws him out on the concept of reconciliation.
get/persuade/encourage someone to talk, put someone at their ease

draw something out

Make something last longer: the transition was long and drawn out
More example sentences
  • Far too many shots are drawn out too lengthily and his selection of long shot vs. medium shot vs. close-up is questionable.
  • His presentation was too complicated, his menus were drawn out and his plate composition was fussy.
  • It may not prove possible to reach agreement by the close of the meeting, in which case negotiations could be drawn out until next spring.
prolong, protract, drag out, stretch out, spin out, string out, make something go on and on, extend, extend the duration of, lengthen, carry on, keep going, keep alive, continue
archaic wire-draw

draw up

Come to a halt: drivers drew up at the lights
More example sentences
  • As we taxied to a halt, a car drew up to the plane's steps to take us home through mundane rush-hour traffic.
  • Indeed, the bus drew up to my alighting stop when I was just ten metres from it.
  • As he approached Ashdon Way in Basildon he drew up at a bus stop where he saw a young man.
stop, pull up, come to a stop/halt, halt, come to a standstill, brake, park, arrive

draw something up

Prepare a plan, agreement, or other document in detail: they instructed an attorney to draw up a sales agreement
More example sentences
  • Detailed plans will be drawn up for the introduction of coaching for non golfers and it is hoped to introduce the scheme through the primary schools both North and South during the next school year.
  • Detailed plans will be drawn up and people will be given a chance to comment before the area committee gives the final go-ahead.
  • Detailed plans will be drawn up over the next few months after people are consulted on what they would like to see in the building.
arrange, marshal, muster, assemble, group, order, range, rank, line up, parade, place, dispose, position, put into position, set out, array, set forth

draw oneself up

Make oneself stand in a stiffly upright manner: Sarah drew herself up, full of indignation that he should presume to judge her
More example sentences
  • And then I self-consciously drew myself up and stood, a little embarrassed at being in a compromising position.
  • George's eyes grew very upset and he drew himself up stiffly.
  • He grabbed her by the hair and started to drag her away, but I stood up, drawing myself up to my full height.


Old English dragan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dragen and German tragen, also to draught.

Words that rhyme with draw

abhor, adore, afore, anymore, ashore, awe, bandore, Bangalore, before, boar, Boer, bore, caw, chore, claw, cocksure, comprador, cor, core, corps, craw, Delors, deplore, door, drawer, evermore, explore, flaw, floor, for, forbore, fore, foresaw, forevermore, forswore, four, fourscore, furthermore, Gábor, galore, gnaw, gore, grantor, guarantor, guffaw, hard-core, Haugh, haw, hoar, ignore, implore, Indore, interwar, jaw, Johor, Lahore, law, lessor, lor, lore, macaw, man-o'-war, maw, mirador, mor, more, mortgagor, Mysore, nevermore, nor, oar, obligor, offshore, onshore, open-jaw, or, ore, outdoor, outwore, paw, poor, pore, pour, rapport, raw, roar, saw, scaur, score, senhor, señor, shaw, ship-to-shore, shop-floor, shore, signor, Singapore, snore, soar, softcore, sore, spore, store, straw, swore, Tagore, tau, taw, thaw, Thor, threescore, tor, tore, torr, trapdoor, tug-of-war, two-by-four, underfloor, underscore, war, warrantor, Waugh, whore, withdraw, wore, yaw, yore, your

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: draw

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