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push Line breaks: push

Definition of push in English:


1 [with object, usually with adverbial] Exert force on (someone or something) in order to move them away from oneself: she pushed her glass towards him [with object and complement]: Lydia pushed the door shut [no object]: he pushed at the skylight, but it wouldn’t budge
More example sentences
  • Ryo stood to walk out of the house, but Kunshi moved toward him and pushed him back into a seat.
  • He felt sunshine on his face, but it was quickly torn away from him as a sack was ruthlessly shoved onto his head and he was pushed away.
  • Immediately she was pushed away and the ground would have cushion her fall except that would have hurt, but she was cushion by a warm body instead.
shove, thrust, propel, impel;
send, press, drive, plunge, stick, force, shoot, ram, bump, knock, strike, hit, jolt, butt, prod, poke, nudge, elbow, shoulder;
bulldoze, sweep, jostle, bundle, hustle, hurry, rush, manhandle
1.1Hold and exert force on (something) so as to cause it to move in front of one: a woman was pushing a pram
More example sentences
  • A few months ago, I was walking down the main street in my home town when two women in front, pushing their children in strollers, stopped dead on the pavement and started talking.
  • After a couple, you'll be ready to emulate Byron, who liked to swim across the Grand Canal pushing a candle in front of him.
  • She glared and started pushing her cart in front of mine.
1.2 [with adverbial] Move one’s body or a part of it into a specified position with effort: she pushed her hands into her pockets
More example sentences
  • Bend your elbows so that your arms are at 90 degrees to your body, then push back up to the start position.
  • I pushed his nearly limp body up to a sitting position and got up from the couch.
  • She used what body parts she could to push herself into sitting position.
1.3Press (a part of a machine or other device): the lift boy pushed the button for the twentieth floor
More example sentences
  • The size of a watch, the DRS device is activated by pushing the Panic Button or when the device senses you haven't moved around in a while.
  • Then I discovered I could keep my left leg elevated, whilst pushing the sewing machine pedal with my right foot.
  • Staff activate the alarms by pushing an easily accessible button.
press (down), push down, depress, exert pressure on, bear down on, hold down, squeeze;
operate, activate, actuate
1.4 [with adverbial] Cause to reach a particular level or state: competition in the retail sector will push down prices the political chaos could push the country into recession
2 [no object, with adverbial] Move forward by using force to pass people or cause them to move aside: she pushed her way through the crowded streets he pushed past an old woman in his haste
More example sentences
  • With more and more force, he pushed aside anyone that stood in his way, with his hands and soon with his blade.
  • The security forces were aggressive, pushing forward until an elderly demonstrator suffered a heart attack.
  • Mark jumped aside as Grace pushed past him and made a watch out kind of whistle.
2.1(Of an army) advance over territory: the guerrillas have pushed south to within 100 miles of the capital
More example sentences
  • With our nation at war, the Army is pushing toward more rapid, immediately relevant change in the Current and Future Force.
  • As the Union army pushed into the South, a young soldier from the south, but committed to the Union cause, was assigned guard duty.
  • As the Elf army pushed forward, a sea of blood, bodies and gore was left behind.
2.2Exert oneself to attain something or surpass others: I was pushing hard until about 10 laps from the finish
More example sentences
  • After that the car was so consistent the whole race that I was really able to push hard, until the last 15 laps.
  • I made a clean start from pole and was pushing really hard until the first pitstop when I saw how big the gap actually was.
  • Currently, the group is pushing hard to become highly cost efficient and has entered into processing arrangements with Gambia in order to create a highly competitive base.
2.3 (be pushing) informal Be nearly (a particular age or amount): she must be pushing forty, but she’s still a good looker
More example sentences
  • I'm pushing forty, though forty seems to be doing most of the pushing.
  • I was surprised to find out, however, that the boys are actually a bit older than myself (I'm pushing fifty).
3 [with object] Compel or urge (someone) to do something, especially to work hard: she believed he was pushing their daughter too hard
More example sentences
  • An unnamable urge was pushing me to drive harder, and for once, I didn't struggle to put words around it.
  • Gus pushes me hard to not just automatically do everything the accepted way.
  • Michael's father was a military man with a strong sense of order, and he pushed his sons hard in athletics.
3.1 [no object] (push for) Demand persistently: the council continued to push for the better management of water resources
More example sentences
  • Consumer campaigners have been pushing for a Europe-wide clothing size scale in a bid to make shopping easier.
  • He said the campaign group was still pushing for more controls on the manufacture and sale of fireworks.
  • Some union chiefs are pushing for campaigns focusing on how families will be affected.
demand, insist on, clamour for, ask/call for, request, press for, campaign for, work for, lobby for, speak for, drum up support for, sponsor, urge, promote, advocate, recommend, champion, espouse
3.2 (be pushed) informal Have very little of something, especially time: I’m a bit pushed for time at the moment
3.3 (be pushed to do something) informal Find it difficult to achieve something: he will be pushed to retain the title as his form this season has been below par
4 [with object] informal Promote the use, sale, or acceptance of: the company has been pushing a document management system
More example sentences
  • Public sympathy pushed the Sorbonne to promote her to her dead husband's professorship.
  • Global sales have pushed Hyundai to seventh place, ahead of both Honda and Nissan.
  • He's pushed the Yell sale - which has been in limbo for years.
advertise, publicize, promote, give publicity to, beat/bang the drum for, popularize;
sell, market, merchandise
informal plug, give a plug to, hype, hype up, give a puff to, puff, puff up, boost, flog
North American informal ballyhoo, flack, huckster
4.1Sell (a narcotic drug) illegally: she was arrested for pushing hard drugs
More example sentences
  • Police today declared war on drug dealers from London pushing cocaine, heroin and crack to children as young as 13.
  • But Shadow Home Secretary Ann Widdecombe said legalising cannabis would lead drug barons to push even more hard drugs.
  • They lie, rob, cheat, push hard drugs, intimidate innocent people and run protection rackets.
5 [with object] Computing Prepare (a stack) to receive a piece of data on the top.
5.1Transfer (data) to the top of a stack.
6 [with object] Photography Develop (a film) so as to compensate for deliberate underexposure: some films can be pushed during processing


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1An act of pushing someone or something in order to move them away from oneself: he closed the door with a push
More example sentences
  • The Chinese are reportedly already a slight majority but new plans indicate a big push to move more settlers in.
  • The move follows a government push to recruit 3,000 matrons across the country as part of a major plan for the National Health Service.
  • The move is the latest push by baseball to increase its marketing to younger fans - and make money along the way.
shove, thrust, ram, bump, knock, hit, jolt, butt, prod, poke, elbow, nudge, shoulder, jostle
1.1An act of pressing a part of a machine or device: the door locks at the push of a button
More example sentences
  • And then, with a push of a single button, the drink will be concocted before his very eyes within a matter of seconds.
  • This is handy, but the machine does not remove them with a push of the button - you have to do the prewash treatment yourself.
  • With the push of a button, the narrow barrel of his device glowed and a beam of light issued from where blasts usually came.
2A vigorous effort to do or obtain something: many clubs are joining in the fund-raising push he determined to make one last push for success
More example sentences
  • In an effort to maintain the push, Operation Impact has forged a partnership with Crimestoppers.
  • Nevertheless, the triumph gave York their first double of the league campaign and it could yet prove crucial in both side's promotion pushes.
  • The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is revitalising its network of information points and is urging local shops, pubs and cafes to join in the promotion push.
2.1A military attack in force: the army was engaged in a push against guerrilla strongholds
More example sentences
  • The push to downsize the military and privatize functions means government contracts are a growth industry.
  • We hit the targets at night in a final push against the terrorist's stronghold near the airport.
  • Despite the military push, a rocket which was fired from Gaza landed in an open area of Israel's Negev Desert overnight, causing no damage or injuries.
2.2 [mass noun] Forcefulness and enterprise: an investor with the necessary money and push
More example sentences
  • These men, who ‘do not let the grass grow under their feet’, are clearly all push and enterprise.
2.3 (a push) informal Something that is hard to achieve: we’re managing on our own but it’s a push


Middle English (as a verb): from Old French pousser, from Latin pulsare 'to push, beat, pulse' (see pulse1). The early sense was 'exert force on', giving rise later to 'make a strenuous effort, endeavour'.

  • appeal from Middle English:

    Recorded first in legal contexts, appeal comes via Old French from Latin appellare ‘to address, accost, call upon’. Peal (Late Middle English) is a shortening of appeal, perhaps from the call to prayers of a ringing bell. The base of appeal is Latin pellere ‘to drive’, found also in compel ‘drive together’; dispel ‘drive apart’; expel ‘drive out’; impel ‘drive towards’; and impulsive; propel ‘drive forwards’; repel ‘drive back’, all Late Middle English. It is also the source of the pulse (Middle English) that you can feel on your wrist and is related to push (Middle English). The other kind of pulse, an edible seed, is a different word, which comes via Old French from Latin puls ‘porridge of meal or pulse’, related to the sources of both pollen and powder.


at a push

British informal If absolutely necessary; only with a certain degree of difficulty: there’s room for four people, or five at a push
More example sentences
  • In the past it was a lot simpler - you'd reach a certain age - somewhere between 22 and, at a push, 35-and you'd freeze dry your record collection, stop going to gigs and, certainly, stop reading music papers.
  • Someone could say to me that Scott Brown, pictured, can play right wing and, at a push, centre-forward.
  • Not making the link depend on a central server or need special software, ie hand-decodable at a push.
if necessary, in case of necessity, if need be, if needs must, if forced, if all else fails, in an emergency

get (or give someone) the push (or shove)

British informal
Be dismissed (or dismiss someone) from a job: four PR people at head office are getting the push it’s hard to psych yourself up to get another job after you’ve been given the push
More example sentences
  • John Smith, the £205,000 a year chief executive of the Post Office, is getting the push for not being ruthless enough.
  • Eisner's position is not all that secure, and if his going was the difference between the renewal of the Pixar deal, or the loss of the Pixar deal, then conceivably the board might give him the shove.
  • If he cannot back up such madness, and there isn't a hope in hell he will be able to, then Ladbrokes have to give him the shove.
throw out, remove, eject, expel, turn out, turf out, fling out, force out, drive out, evict, dislodge, oust;
informal chuck out, kick out, send packing, boot out, defenestrate, give someone the boot, give someone their marching orders, throw someone out on their ear, show someone the door, sack, fire, give someone the (old) heave-ho
North American informal give someone the bum's rush
2.1Be rejected in (or end) a relationship.
Example sentences
  • I just hoped Rebecca wouldn't give him the shove, like she does with most of the guys that showed interest in her.
  • As Gloria, his fiancée of five years who gets the push, Jessica Walker is a perfect screech, with a classic mother to match in Carol Wilson.

push at (or against) an open door

Have no difficulty in accomplishing a task: if the management were to tackle this issue, it might find that it was pushing at an open door
More example sentences
  • Collecting signatures was like pushing at an open door.
  • I think you should see instead us as pushing at an open door.
  • It made us realise that we could win this game, even if to be honest, I think he was pushing at an open door.

push the boat out

see boat.

push someone's buttons

see button.

be pushing up the daisies

see daisy.

push one's luck

informal Take a risk on the assumption that one will continue to be successful or in favour: he had pushed his luck too far, and his smuggling was discovered
More example sentences
  • ‘You could be great, along with my help,’ he continued, pushing his luck.
  • Sure it was a risk to be pushing his luck so soon, but he was having a great time with Krystal and dreaded the fact that their evening would be coming to an end.
  • The wild cards afford you the luxury of being able to push your luck with no risk.

when push comes to shove

informal When one must commit oneself to an action or decision: when push came to shove, I always stood up for him
More example sentences
  • While we'll work as a team, ultimately, when push comes to shove, Michael will have the final say.
  • They sometimes say they are, but in fact when push comes to shove, they are no more interested in the weaker clubs than they are in clubs that are not in Victoria.
  • But when push comes to shove, he sold out to preserve his place in the party, and all for a man whose campaign attacked his family to score political points only 4 years ago.

Phrasal verbs

push ahead

Proceed with or continue a course of action: he promised to push ahead with economic reform
More example sentences
  • As for the future, En Foco will continue to push ahead with more emphasis on the journal.
  • Since then the Town has continued to push ahead with the project on its own.
  • Coca-Cola continues to push ahead with the establishment of more local bottling plants.

push along

British informal Go away; depart.

push someone around (or about)

informal Treat someone roughly or inconsiderately: he was annoyed by their arrogance in thinking they could push him around whenever they wished
More example sentences
  • It appears that perhaps unconsciously you are attracting partners who push you around and treat you badly because at a deeper level you may still carry negative belief patterns from your childhood.
  • Nobody is pushing us around or has ever pushed us around on West Indian wickets.
  • All those years he made fun of me, bullied me, pushed me around, I think that it was his cry for help.
bully, domineer, boss about/around, ride roughshod over, trample on, tread on, bulldoze, abuse, mistreat, maltreat, kick around/about, browbeat, lean on, tyrannize, intimidate, threaten, torment, terrorize, victimize, pick on

push in

British Go in front of people who are already queuing: they scowled at him because they thought he was trying to push in at the head of the queue
More example sentences
  • You find yourself rubbing shoulders with some household names and being a little in awe of the whole thing, but by about day three you don't care who you're pushing in front of in the canteen queue.
  • Seething with suppressed fury when someone cuts you up in traffic or pushes in front of you in a shop queue is a sure way to develop a raging headache, says a US researcher.
  • She then pushed in front of me in the queue, demanded a discount and got it.

push off

1Use an oar, boathook, etc. to exert pressure so as to move a boat out from a bank: we pushed off and rowed out into midstream
More example sentences
  • He helped me into the boat, then pushed off and jumped in himself.
  • Finally, it did, and though the orders that followed were to return to ship, a squall blew up and the boats could not push off.
  • The water was shallow enough, and the bottom varied enough, that they often touched up against a rock of bit of sandbar, and when they did, they reacted instantly, pushing off against it to move laterally.
2British informal Go away: I’ve got to push off and get to work
go away, depart, leave, take oneself off, take off, get out, get out of my sight;
go, go your way, get going, get moving, be off, take your leave, decamp, absent yourself;
be off with you, shoo
informal hit the road, fly, skedaddle, split, vamoose, scat, scram, make yourself scarce, be on your way, run along, beat it, get, get lost, shove off, buzz off, clear off, skip off, pop off, go (and) jump in the lake
on your bike, go and chase yourself
British informal get stuffed, sling your hook, hop it, bog off, naff off
Australian/New Zealand informal rack off, nick off
South African informal voetsak, hamba
vulgar slang bugger off, piss off, fuck off
British vulgar slang sod off
literary begone, avaunt

push on

Continue on a journey: the light was already fading, but she pushed on
More example sentences
  • Two gunmen were arrested and, as heavy fire could still be heard ahead, Major Hollister pushed on with just two of his men.
  • It would be a lovely journey, so people kept pushing on.
  • A short photo stop soon cooled us down, before we pushed on up the hill carrying the weighty bags of tackle and camera gear.
continue one's journey, continue on one's way, carry on, advance, press on, progress, make progress, proceed, go on, make headway, gain ground, push forward, go/forge ahead;
resume one's journey, start off again

push something through

Get a proposed measure completed or accepted quickly: the government is trying to push through a package of measures to combat organized crime
More example sentences
  • Surely a chicane system should be considered before the proposed measures are pushed through.
  • If justice can be done, I have no objections - and provided the defence have got time to prepare a proper defence and the cases are not pushed through too quickly.
  • She's really focussed on looking outwards rather than inward and she's prepared to push innovative measures through the Scottish parliament.

Words that rhyme with push

Hindu Kush, kurus, mush, whoosh, woosh • bell

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Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: iˈnäkyo͞oəs
not harmful or offensive