Meaning of pull in English:


Pronunciation /pʊl/

See synonyms for pull

Translate pull into Spanish


[with object]
  • 1usually with adverbial Exert force on (someone or something) so as to cause movement towards oneself.

    ‘he pulled them down on to the couch’
    • ‘I pulled the heavy blue curtain aside’
    • ‘I pulled the door shut behind me’
    • ‘they are pulled in incompatible directions by external factors and their own beliefs’
    • ‘the little boy pulled at her skirt’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The bell rang again, and with a growl, Jessi stumbled towards the door and pulled it open.’
    • ‘Smiling happily, Josh grabbed both of their hands and pulled them towards the doors.’
    • ‘Blair walked around the car and tried to pull Jim toward the door of their building.’
    • ‘Quietly he moved towards the door, pulling it open just enough for him to squeeze through.’
    • ‘He cheered her on, pulling her towards his car, a brand new, red Corvette.’
    • ‘I seized his arm with both hands and began pulling him towards the door.’
    • ‘In your present condition I don't think there's any trick you could pull on it that'd be effective before I pull the trigger.’
    • ‘Two men jumped out of the vehicle, grabbing Alan's arms as they pulled him towards the car.’
    • ‘He grabs my right hand and gently pulls me towards the door.’
    • ‘He did not wait for an answer before grabbing her hand and beginning to pull her towards the door.’
    • ‘She grabbed Jack by the hand and tried to pull him towards the direction of Ayers Rock.’
    • ‘One friend had grabbed hold of his arm and pulled him towards the bank, but the force of the water was too strong and he was dragged under.’
    • ‘I take her hand in mine and pull her towards the door.’
    • ‘All the driver has to do to unlock the car is to pull the door handle, the system already having recognised the signal from the transponder signal.’
    • ‘Someone in front of her grabbed her and started pulling her towards the door.’
    • ‘Aimée draped her carry-on bag over her shoulder and pulled the suitcase towards the door.’
    • ‘She turned the giant clear doorknob on the heavy front door and forcefully pulled it towards herself.’
    tug, haul, drag, draw, trail, tow, heave, lug, strain at, jerk, lever, prise, wrench, wrest, twist
    View synonyms
    1. 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 horses’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The simple wooden carriage was pulled by two horses, and was ridden by one lone figure.’
      • ‘There, cows and geese sway and horses pull carts past old men who sit motionless in the shade of a few broad trees.’
      • ‘Farmers sent grain, fruit, and vegetables to the goldfields, and supplied oats and wheat to feed horses pulling wagons and coaches to and from the goldfields.’
      • ‘Waka, the Clydesdale horse pulls a wagon over a hundred years old, and the driver gives a commentary as you travel.’
      • ‘The horses pulling the carriage suddenly took fright for no apparent reason, snapped the traces and bolted off, startling both the hosts and their guest of honour.’
      • ‘The confusion, it seems, is because the horses pulling the royal carriage procession are being stabled at Imphal Barracks.’
      • ‘A couple have told how they are lucky to be alive after a horse pulling their carriage ran amok and started a stampede during a holiday pleasure trip.’
      • ‘The last horses you would see would be the barge horses pulling the canal boats to Bolton and Bury - now these, too, are no more.’
      • ‘Overworked horses pulling carriages laden with tourists trot frantically up the hill as the fierce morning sun beats down.’
      • ‘Originally operated by the Royal Navy, in Fulham, the vehicle pulled trailers filled with torpedoes.’
      • ‘After the repairs, farmers on their way to the bog could trot their donkeys on the narrow roadway, instead of helping the little beasts pull the carts out of ruts.’
      • ‘Then out of nowhere came the sound of a cart being pulled by heavy horses.’
      • ‘The horse started pulling the cart up the long cobbled driveway.’
      • ‘Two horses were pulling the carriage but Jok was not guiding them.’
      • ‘The horses pulling his carriage bolted and the carriage was left hanging over a bridge above the river Seine.’
      • ‘Out in the street a horse pulled its abandoned cart, oblivious to the disturbance.’
      • ‘Crouching in the shadows, he watched silently as the beast pulled a wagon away down the street.’
    2. 1.2no object (of an engine) exert propulsive force; deliver power.
      ‘the engine warmed up quickly and pulled well’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The 115 bhp engine pulls well throughout its speed range, which peaks at 122 mph.’
      • ‘And it does that acceleration part rather well, pulling like a jet engine lined up at a runway's start right from the low end of the rev-counter scale.’
    3. 1.3no object Work oars to cause a boat to move.
      ‘he pulled at the oars and the boat moved swiftly through the water’
      • ‘she looked at the waves and pulled hard with her oars’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 1.4pull oneselfMove in a specified direction with effort, especially by taking hold of something and exerting force.
      ‘he pulled himself into the saddle’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With effort the turtle pulls himself over the ledge and then rests a moment.’
      • ‘I put a great amount of effort into pulling myself up into a sitting position, but that didn't make my whereabouts any clearer.’
      • ‘Alex reached out and grabbed the side of the opening, pulling himself forward with effort.’
      • ‘He'd gone no more than a yard when Pritchard pulled himself up, moving slowly enough not to make any noise.’
      • ‘With an effort, she pulled herself upright, weaving through the crowd.’
      • ‘The effort to pull myself back under the covers hurt just as much as standing up did.’
      • ‘As he swung away he used a bit of the excess force to pull himself up.’
      • ‘One more effort like that to pull himself along the ground would finish him.’
      • ‘It took them an hour to move an inch up that pipe; pulling themselves along via their chins.’
      • ‘I startle myself when I wrap my arms around Shane's neck, pulling myself forward towards the edge of the car as I do so.’
      • ‘I scurried up and crawled into bed, pulling myself under the comfortable covers.’
      • ‘Balou, in very critical condition had somehow managed to crawl home, pulling himself by his front paws.’
      • ‘‘Grab a hold of the edges and pull yourself up,’ Sean explained.’
      • ‘Typically, developing children sit up, crawl, pull themselves up, then toddle.’
      • ‘Once I relaxed and started to pull myself upward, I slid through the gap easily.’
      • ‘He got his leg over the top, and started to pull himself up as he crawled forward.’
      • ‘He could then pull himself up by fractions of an inch at a time.’
      crawl, move on all fours, move on hands and knees, pull oneself, inch, edge, slither, slide, squirm, wriggle, writhe, worm, worm one's way, insinuate oneself
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5with object and adverbial Remove or extract (something) by grasping and exerting force on it.
      ‘she pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket’
      • ‘he pulled on his boots’
      • ‘I pulled up some onions’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘Tricia opened the fridge and pulled out a carton of milk, then pulled a saucer out of a cabinet.’
      • ‘Stumbling to her dresser, she pulled out the first things she saw and pulled them on.’
      • ‘I pulled out a comb and brushed my hair.’
      • ‘Instead, an extractor pulls empties from the chamber just far enough to allow you to grip and remove them.’
      • ‘An extractor pulls empty cases part way from the chamber, where they can be removed with your fingers.’
      • ‘The coleoptile could then be removed by carefully pulling it away from the kernel between the thumb and the forefinger.’
      • ‘She carefully removed her headdress and pulled the choir robe over her head.’
      • ‘It will have an extractor to pull the fired shell out of the chamber, and an ejector to kick it out of the gun.’
      • ‘If the bead is screwed in place, remove the screws and pull it out with pliers.’
      • ‘My hands trembling, I fumbled to remove my shoes and pull the boots on over my stockings.’
      • ‘She removed her hat and pulled the hair pins from her hair and let it hang loose down her back.’
      • ‘At the bottom of the lever's stroke, the extractor pulls the spent cartridge partially from the chamber.’
      • ‘The cry turned into a growl as it turned around completely, taking the arrow in its teeth and pulling it out.’
      • ‘After brushing her teeth, she pulled the pins from her hair, letting it fall in waves down to her hips.’
      • ‘She pulls a couple of chairs up to the window.’
      • ‘I turned around towards the door, pulling my spare key out of my purse and unlocking it, walking inside.’
      • ‘Trev went back to the bedroom to pull on clothes as Ford pulled the pizza box out of the fridge.’
      pull out, draw out, take out, extract, remove, root out
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    6. 1.6British Draw (beer) from a barrel to serve.
      ‘he ordered three beers and the barman pulled them’
      • ‘The staff know what they're doing, and how to pull a pint, but will leave you in peace.’
      • ‘Pretend you've worked in a pub before, learn how to pull a decent pint and your laughing!’
    7. 1.7Computing Retrieve (an item of data) from the top of a stack.
      ‘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.’
  • 2no object, with adverbial Move steadily in a specified direction or manner.

    ‘the bus was about to pull away’
    • ‘the boy pulled ahead and disappeared round the corner’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With a no nonsense attitude, the Captain pinned his ears and steadily pulled away to win by three.’
    • ‘As the United States pulls farther and farther ahead of Europe economically, this idea appears more and more perverse.’
    • ‘The 3 drivers battled back and forth most all of the race in what turned out to be the best racing because Skeeter was steadily pulling away and asserting himself from the rest of the pack.’
    • ‘It didn't take long for the boys to start pulling away.’
    • ‘Having stopped the rot and prevented Hearts pulling any further ahead of them, the next task is pegging them back.’
    • ‘The effect of his outburst is happily plain to see in the latest opinion poll showing Labour pulling ahead of the Tories.’
    • ‘What's going on is that Tesco's is pulling further ahead and Sainsbury's is catching up.’
    • ‘We finally pulled ahead of her at one of the no-lane free-for-alls after the toll booth.’
    • ‘Kenmare pulled ahead by three points with another point from a free.’
    • ‘Figures released today showed that while sales pulled ahead for most of May, the rain curbed shoppers' enthusiasm.’
    • ‘Hawks pulled further ahead when scrummaging with only seven men.’
    • ‘They pulled further ahead when Stark wrong-footed the home defence with a cross field run which fooled everyone.’
    • ‘This process plays out a bit like cars on the interstate: Eventually a pack of Maseratis will pull ahead as the Pintos fall back.’
    • ‘Europe's benchmark stock indexes have lagged comparable US measures this year, but they may soon start to pull ahead.’
    • ‘Fans are happy that they will not have to wait any longer for the releases, but the emphasis is now on who will pull ahead on the Billboard Charts.’
    • ‘I'm starting to pull ahead in that last, though, so that's good.’
    • ‘The two crews were neck and neck at the half-way stage before York started to pull ahead to give themselves a half-length lead with 500m to go.’
    1. 2.1no object, with adverbial of direction Move one's body in a specified direction, especially against resistance.
      ‘she tried to pull away from him’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He tried to pull away from the men but he could not.’
      • ‘Cathy tried to pull away from him but he wouldn't let her.’
  • 3Attract (someone) as a customer; cause to show interest in something.

    ‘anyone can enter the show if they have a good act and the ability to pull a crowd’
    • ‘tourist attractions which pull in millions of foreign visitors’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's a huge venue and I'm sure that even if they do pull a bigger than regular crowd on Friday - we'll all fit nicely.’
    • ‘I can't afford to have bands who won't pull the crowds.’
    attract, draw, pull in, bring in, lure, charm, engage, enchant, captivate, bewitch, seduce, catch the eye of, entice, tempt, beckon, interest, fascinate
    attract, draw, pull, bring in, lure, charm, engage, enchant, captivate, bewitch, seduce, catch the eye of, entice, tempt, beckon, interest, fascinate
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1British informal Succeed in attracting sexually.
      • ‘I used my sense of humour to pull girls’
      • ‘Within the meteorological fraternity will they henceforth be held in awe and get the best seats at the annual Christmas dance and pull the cutest weather girls?’
      • ‘True, it is risky going on the pull in pretentious nightclubs if you are blind: you might just pull an ugly sister.’
    2. 3.2 informal Carry out or achieve (something clever or duplicitous)
      • ‘the magazine pulled its trick of producing the right issue at the right time’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I knew if I were his enemy he would've pulled one of those tricks out of his sleeve and cut me up in seconds.’
      • ‘Then we had the Minister pull the dirtiest trick I have seen in the parliamentary process in 30 years.’
      commit, carry out, perform, execute, do, effect, bring about, be guilty of, be to blame for, be responsible for, accomplish, inflict, wreak
      View synonyms
  • 4Bring out (a weapon) for use against someone.

    ‘it's not every day a young woman pulls a gun on a burglar’
    • ‘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.’
    take out, draw, pull, draw out, bring out, get out, withdraw, fish out, produce
    View synonyms
  • 5Damage (a muscle, ligament, etc.) by abnormal strain.

    ‘he pulled a calf muscle in the first half of the game and had to be replaced’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When strain is put on the knee, the muscles around the kneecap can be pulled.’
    • ‘Broken noses, bad backs and pulled muscles seemed to lie everywhere.’
    • ‘He banged his head on the way over, hated the ground and did the splits over the first fence, pulling all the muscles in his chest.’
    • ‘You guys must all paddle the same and all overcompensate somehow to have pulled that muscle.’
    • ‘The Jets weren't going to suffer a mass of broken bones, torn ligaments and pulled muscles on his watch.’
    • ‘You see a lot more strains and pulled muscles that can end up hampering the player all year long.’
    • ‘Whether a rolled ankle, a torn ligament or a pulled muscle, rare is the athlete who has not had to battle through physical pain.’
    • ‘When you're a trainer in the lower minors, you do more than tend to ankle sprains and pulled muscles.’
    • ‘One recent anecdote - I've had a pulled muscle or something in my chest recently, from sneezing a lot last time I had a cold.’
    • ‘Flexible muscles are far less likely to be strained or pulled than tight ones.’
    • ‘This was no pulled muscle, Ivan thought as he crumpled against the doorway he had just walked through.’
    • ‘Which means that this winter promises to be a blur of pounding damp London streets, probable pulled groin muscles and blisters.’
    • ‘He rubbed at his neck, the pulled muscle had caused him agony all night but he hadn't dared to show it.’
    • ‘Wright might not be able to start the opener because of a pulled stomach muscle.’
    • ‘Pain throbbed in pulled muscles and throughout a multitude of new cuts, bruises and scratches.’
    • ‘She refused and subsequently suffered injuries to her shoulder, pulled muscles and bruises.’
    • ‘The cramps possibly were a side effect of a pulled muscle suffered in winter ball last year.’
    strain, sprain, turn, wrench, rick, stretch, tear
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  • 6 informal Cancel or withdraw (an entertainment or advertisement)

    • ‘the gig was pulled at the first sign of difficulty’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Insurer Standard Life really should pull those smug, glossy television advertisements it is running.’
    • ‘By the time we got there, the entire site has been pulled, presumably by the school authorities.’
    • ‘An attempt to float the company for around £750m in 1999 was pulled due to lack of market interest.’
    1. 6.1North American Withdraw or disqualify (a player) from a game.
      ‘four of the leading eight runners were pulled’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They know that I do not pull players because of bad play - only because of bad attitudes.’
      • ‘He pulled a player for making a mistake, chewed him out, then hugged him around the neck and kissed him on the cheek.’
    2. 6.2Arrest.
      ‘I am never likely to get pulled for speeding’
      • ‘If pulled for speeding in Virginia, do I have the right to ask the officer to see the radar?’
      • ‘My dad was pulled for drunk driving.’
      arrest, apprehend, detain, take into custody, take prisoner, seize, capture, catch, take in
      View synonyms
    3. 6.3Check the speed of (a horse), especially so as to make it lose a race.
      ‘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.’
  • 7Cricket
    Play (the ball) round to the leg side from the off.

    ‘After pulling the ball over midwicket, Cairns showed he was no one-trick pony.’
    • ‘He went down the wicket even to bowlers of extreme pace with the intention of making them drop the ball short, and when they did so, he would cut or pull the ball savagely.’
    • ‘He pulled his first ball for four, and proceeded to hit every shot thereafter as hard as he could.’
    • ‘Short balls, and some not very short, were pulled and hooked in a manner that must have surprised even Vaughan himself.’
    • ‘Attempted to pull one from outside off, and top-edged a catch to the bowler’
    1. 7.1Golf Baseball Strike (the ball) in the direction of one's follow-through so that it travels to the left (or, with a left-handed player, the right).
      ‘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.’
      • ‘A left-handed hitter pulls a single to right field, scoring the runner from second and sending the other to third.’
      • ‘This can cause any number of errors, such as pulling the ball to the left or hitting it thin.’
  • 8American Football
    no object (of a lineman) withdraw from and cross behind the line of scrimmage to block opposing players and clear the way for a runner.

    ‘he may be their best ever lineman—he can run and pull with the best’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mahan is excellent at getting off the line, pulling and blocking past the line.’
    • ‘Supposedly Martin managed to retain his agility as he put on weight, which should help him in pulling and getting out to block linebackers.’
  • 9Printing
    Print (a proof).

    ‘A proof sheet would be pulled, and read against the manuscript.’
    • ‘Two proofs have been pulled and are propped side by side.’
    set in print, send to press, run off, preprint, reprint, pull, proof, copy, reproduce
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  • 1An act of pulling something.

    ‘give the hair a quick pull and it comes out by the roots’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With a quick pull, Baxorth released his scimitar from the ground's clutches and took a couple steps to his left, toward his agile adversary.’
    • ‘With a quick pull of the reins, they headed back towards Benson Manor.’
    • ‘With a quick pull she managed to get a few chunks of hair on either side to fall out.’
    • ‘She reached out, she grabbed my hand, and with a quick pull I got her back to her feet.’
    • ‘He gave a mighty pull and - look there - wiggling on the end of his tweezers was my beautiful nerve ending.’
    • ‘With a single pull of a rope, one set of side wings are drawn off stage while the new panels simultaneously slide on in their place.’
    • ‘From what I saw, it looked more like an accidental contact than a blatant pull across the head.’
    tug, haul, jerk, heave
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A handle to hold while pulling.
      ‘the car didn't have external door handles, just pulls inside’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was based on the Bar X type, but in a casino cabinet with a pull handle.’
      • ‘Reaching down into his pocket the man pulled out a plain black sack with a pull string handle that tightened and closed the opening to the sack.’
      • ‘Purchased doorknobs and drawer pulls from specialty hardware store.’
      • ‘Or the crown moulding or the fancy new Lutron dimmers or the under-the-cabinet lights or even the drawer pulls.’
      • ‘The jewelry designer fashioned a copper sink, some light fixtures, and drawer pulls, and she tiled one of the baths.’
      • ‘To neatly convey the choice of sizes in the case of such items as drawer pulls, the entire range might be lined up on the page in descending order.’
      • ‘She fell off my dresser and her back leg got caught in my drawer pull and she fractured her foot.’
      • ‘Other highlights include handstitched doorknobs and door levers and a wide range of cabinet pulls and knobs.’
      • ‘Leather drawer and door pulls add a luxury touch to practical hardware.’
      • ‘In addition to the pulls and knobs themselves, there are also backer plates, which sit behind the pull or knob.’
      • ‘If you're careful you can measure to locate holes for pulls and knobs.’
      • ‘Many of these actuators were simple levers or wire pulls, none of which had any means to prevent unauthorised operation.’
      • ‘See where your body fits in relation to all the moving parts and adjust the machine accordingly, using the knobs and pulls.’
      • ‘If you plan to reuse the hardware, clean and store all the pulls, knobs and their screws in plastic bags.’
      • ‘As we do we notice that on the outside is only a solid pull handle, rather than the normal door handle that's on the other side.’
      • ‘The Avenger is a double roller bag with polyester construction and a retractable metal pull handle.’
      • ‘They have beautiful double-action trigger pulls and are remarkably accurate.’
      handle, grip, pull, switch, joystick, key, knob
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    2. 1.2A deep draught of a drink.
      ‘he unscrewed the cap from the flask and took another pull’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He kept the drink at his lips for an extra pull, feeling the alcohol burn a path from his tongue to his stomach.’
      • ‘Did she hide bottles in the garden or the lavatory cistern and take a sneaky pull when she thought no one was looking?’
      gulp, draught, drink, swallow, mouthful, sip, sup
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    3. 1.3An act of inhaling while smoking a pipe, cigarette, or cigar.
      ‘he took a pull on his cheroot’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While waiting for a bus, remove a cigarette from pack and proceed to light. After taking 3 pulls, your bus should be there…!’
      • ‘My hand found the packet, and I slid out and lit a Marlboro, and took a long deep pull.’
    4. 1.4British in singular An act of moving steadily or with effort.
      ‘a pull for ten minutes brought me to the summit’
      • ‘I had always pulled hard, but never seemed to get much distance or speed from the pull relative to the effort I put forth.’
    5. 1.5An injury to a muscle or ligament caused by abnormal strain.
      ‘he was ruled out of the game with a hamstring pull’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The pull of these muscles occasionally exacerbates fracture displacement.’
      • ‘By the end of the season I was suffering from a muscle pull injury in my shoulder that effectively ended my rookie tennis season.’
      • ‘Owen's biggest challenge might be avoiding hamstring muscle pulls, which have plagued him during his short career.’
      • ‘I saw the mechanics and the leg drive - not the hamstring pulls or the shoulder injury.’
      • ‘This afternoon, with almost half his squad involved in matches, he will face a tense wait for news of groin strains and hamstring pulls.’
      • ‘A proper warm-up literally warms and lubricates the muscles, thereby greatly reducing the risk of pulls and strains.’
      • ‘His injury woes have cleared up significantly after selling his Mercedes, believing the strain from the pedals was creating muscle pulls by putting pressure on his back.’
      • ‘Avoid jerking or bouncing as it can lead to strains, pulls and other kinds of injuries.’
      • ‘Embrace the pain - so long as it's not caused by a real injury, like a muscle pull.’
      • ‘Patients frequently have a history of a minor injury, sprain or muscle pull incurred while participating in a sport.’
      • ‘Muscle pulls are rarely serious, unless they occur in a vulnerable area, such as the hamstring.’
      • ‘Half way through the fourth, Palmer suffered a muscle pull and surrendered effectively at that point.’
      • ‘I want to make the point that the feeling of the muscle pull is nothing like the increasing fatigue of running.’
      • ‘However, Andres had to overcome two serious injuries, the first of which was a hamstring pull.’
      • ‘I am healthy, and the only time I've had to see a doctor in the last five years was for a muscle pull.’
      • ‘I've learned this lesson the hard way after several strains and pulls.’
      • ‘He will put an emphasis on stretching, and the Saints hope Smith's training can prevent the muscle pulls and tears that have hampered the team.’
  • 2in singular A force drawing someone or something in a particular direction.

    ‘the pull of the water tore her away’
    • ‘the pull of her home town was a strong one’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The gravitational pull of all of the planets combined on earth is almost nothing when compared to the gravitational pull of the sun on earth.’
    • ‘As the core of a massive star collapses, the pull of gravity is sufficiently strong to force protons and electrons to combine and form neutrons.’
    • ‘At the end of every straight the brake pedal would be mashed into the floor before the car was flung into the next curve, generating cornering forces well in excess of the gravitational pull of Earth.’
    • ‘So why is the gravitational pull downward stronger than ever before?’
    • ‘That unexpectedly collapses it into a black hole, a supermassive region with a gravitational pull so strong not even light can escape.’
    • ‘But as we haul ourselves against the pull of gravity and into the 21st century, we continue to have misgivings.’
    • ‘The most familiar form of potential energy involves the pull of Earth's gravity.’
    • ‘The strong pull of gravity from the collapsed star pulls material off the normal star.’
    • ‘It is fascinating to observe how they struggle to overcome both the pull of gravity and the force of waterfalls.’
    • ‘Although it poses no danger at all to the Earth at the moment, that could change if its orbit around the sun is deflected by the gravitational pull of a nearby planet.’
    • ‘The moon feels the gravitational pull of not only Earth but also the sun.’
    • ‘They are held up against the inward pull of gravity by the pressure of the electrons associated with the atoms of which they are made, acting like a kind of electron gas.’
    • ‘Now they've found that the centrifugal force of a spinning ring balances the pull of gravity all by itself.’
    • ‘Now we have left the gravitational pull of the Earth.’
    • ‘This is the point of no return, where matter is sucked into the black hole itself, where the gravitational pull is so great that not even light can escape - giving the black hole its name.’
    • ‘Then its own ion engine will take it, gradually, into bigger and bigger orbits, until the gravitational pull of the Moon takes over.’
    • ‘The gravitational pull of the Moon provides the twice-daily tides on Earth as Earth spins under the Moon.’
    tug, towing, haul, pull, drawing, drag, trailing, trawl
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1count noun Something exerting an influence or attraction.
      ‘one of the pulls of urban life is the opportunity of finding employment’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After all, we're an island nation on whom the sea exerts an irresistible pull.’
      • ‘Not exclusively, of course, but the monochromatic examples exerted a considerable pull.’
      • ‘Stacey felt a pull of attraction she tried to ignore.’
      • ‘In its own insidious way, the movie exerts an oneiric pull, as hypnotic as the sight of Skull Island from the deck of the fogbound Venture.’
      • ‘The Maltese are devout Catholics and the church exerts a strong pull.’
      • ‘There's an insistent rough-edged energy to Dude which exerts a physical pull that I find wholly appealing.’
      • ‘From the bedroom, Essence of Persimmon exerts a magnetic pull I can feel in my chest.’
      • ‘The European Union has become a gigantic political and economic magnet whose greatest strength is the attractive pull it exerts on its neighbors.’
      • ‘For Mr Dinsey the relief road has opened up what was once a choked town centre and transformed it into a pleasant attraction which has become a pull for new businesses.’
      • ‘He will probably be unable to counter such a pull before the instability is established.’
      • ‘The pull of crossover books is similar to the appeal of crime and other genre fiction: Character and Story - elements that are sometimes lost in the literary novel.’
      • ‘She never conveys the emotional pull Sondheim exerts on some of us.’
      • ‘But there is also an internal pull, drawing men and women to embrace a label they might once have eschewed.’
      • ‘Then his eyes slid over to Damien's discarded weapon, drawn irresistibly by an invisible pull.’
      • ‘It's an odd pull that land of cactus and mesquite exerts on those of us born to it.’
      • ‘The paintings exert an almost palpable pull, urging you closer.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, it demonstrates the pull a curator can exert on an exhibition.’
      attraction, lure, allurement, enticement, drawing power, draw, magnetism, influence, enchantment, magnet, temptation, invitation, fascination, appeal
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2mass noun Ability to exercise influence.
      ‘the team might be seeded because of their pull within soccer's international body’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In retrospect, I think one of the things we didn't have is that we didn't have any political pull.’
      • ‘The High Commands of both countries were dominated by the old traditional cavalry regiments and their political pull was great.’
      • ‘The psalm-singing donkey bishop has political pull.’
      • ‘The cold reality is that boaters have absolutely zero political pull.’
      • ‘The smaller outfits will simply never have the political pull or advertising budget of the big guys.’
      • ‘People without his political pull have spent years futilely trying to clear their names.’
      • ‘These factors helped Delors exert pull within the European Council, in which the Commission President is the only non-head of state or government who is a full member.’
      • ‘A minor group in Kurdistan with little real pull or power.’
      • ‘Subsequently peer pressure and blackmail of friendship are often major contributing pull factors.’
      • ‘Our young men are also susceptible to the media's pull.’
      • ‘We expect that clergy will be appointed because they show appropriate spirituality and not because their families have some pull with the patron of the parish.’
      • ‘The hereditary peers aren't the only ones with pull.’
      • ‘While I'd like to believe that Stern doesn't have that much pull with his listeners, I know I'd just be kidding myself.’
      • ‘Less rain would be good in the afternoon/evening, so if anyone has any pull with the weather folks, put in a good word, would you?’
      • ‘When it comes to things like videos, major labels have a lot of pull, where independent labels are pretty much blackballed.’
      • ‘He has Southern charm, a Southern drawl and maybe some Southern pull.’
      • ‘In both cases White's Bishops should give him some pull.’
      influence, sway, strength, power, authority, say, prestige, standing, weight, leverage, muscle, teeth
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3British informal An attempt to attract someone sexually.
      • ‘an eligible bachelor on the pull’
      • ‘Basically, a bunch of women are shrieking laughter at each other while they neck Lambrini before heading out on the pull, staggering around like chimps at a tea-party.’
      • ‘At least, I think it is a glare, maybe the old roué is on the pull and has mistaken the duchess of Cornwall for one of the ladies of the night that are standard fare at Tory party parties.’
      • ‘I don't go out on the pull, and the realm of one-night stands seems to be beyond someone with my looks and personality.’
      • ‘I remember now why I'm not interested in going on the pull.’
      • ‘He asked me to demonstrate how my shoulders would be if I was trying to look like Joe Cool out on the pull, whoever Joe Cool might be.’
  • 3(in sport) a pulling stroke.

    ‘Proficient with all strokes, his best scoring stroke was the pull, played all along the ground between mid on to backward square leg.’
    • ‘He can whip the ball past mid-wicket in a flash, his straight-driving is out of the ordinary, and he can essay the pull stroke contemptuously.’
    • ‘He possesses a mean pull stroke, and does use his feet to the spinners, often clearing the ground in a jiffy.’
    • ‘Wood attacked strongly with some fierce pulls and hooks.’
    • ‘You should have a good snap of the elbow and wrist on the end of your stroke, finishing your pull fully extended, with your hand coming by your thigh.’
  • 4A printer's proof.

    ‘Proof ‘pulls’ of World War propaganda posters are quite rare.’
    • ‘Its first pulls are read as proof.’
    page proof, galley proof, galley, pull, slip, trial print
    View synonyms


    be like pulling teeth
    • Be extremely difficult to do.

      • ‘it had been like pulling teeth to extract these two small items from Moore’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘The next girl was frustrating because she was one of those people you can tell is a really, really cool, but so painfully shy that it feels like pulling teeth to get any words out of them on the first date.’
      • ‘And I have to find a job, which is like pulling teeth for me (the hunting that is, I'd rather work than not work).’
      • ‘It's like pulling teeth to get me to show such emotions.’
      • ‘In my experience, it is like pulling teeth to get emotional detail out of some men, and similarly like panning for gold to get political conversation out of some women.’
      • ‘Each revision is like pulling teeth, or like exercise.’
      • ‘However, you can make no excuse for the fact that - and the police have said this - that it was like pulling teeth from him.’
      • ‘We did the show in Toronto and it was like pulling teeth to get people to participate.’
    pull one's head in
    Australian, New Zealand informal
    • Mind one's own business.

      • ‘he got mad and told her to pull her head in’
      • ‘Why don't you just pull your head in and stop thinking that you know it all?’
      • ‘I think he should pull his head in and get on with the job for a while before he starts mouthing off.’
    pull one's weight
    • Do one's fair share of work.

      ‘he must pull his weight or leave’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I haven't seen anyone in the squad sulking and if they were, they wouldn't be here too long if they weren't pulling their weight - there are no superstars or prima donnas here.’
      • ‘We believe in a cooperative approach to community security - all governments pulling their weight, all governments ensuring that the Australian people can feel safe in their homes and safe on the streets.’
      • ‘The public is disenchanted with the parliament's performance thus far and has the impression too many MSPs are not pulling their weight.’
      • ‘While the rookies were pulling their weight, the Warriors also received an obvious boost from one of their veterans.’
      • ‘And to be perfectly honest, I doubt that a lot of 70 year olds today are really pulling their weight.’
      • ‘Villa people are neurotic about others not pulling their weight.’
      • ‘For example, some of the older members of the community felt that the youngsters weren't pulling their weight.’
    pull oneself together
    • Recover control of one's emotions.

      ‘you've got to pull yourself together and find a job’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the show must go on, so Ross pulls himself together and rises to complete his snivelling soliloquy.’
      • ‘After several minutes of hysterics he pulls himself together and approaches Lena.’
      • ‘They embrace over a tureen of soup then she pulls herself together to sing I'm Just a Dope Who is Stuck on Hope.’
      • ‘He stopped going to work, he stopped pulling himself together to face the week like a normal person.’
      • ‘But he gives her credit for pulling herself together quickly.’
      • ‘She couldn't even stand up straight and she had to stop a few times, as if pulling herself together.’
      • ‘Trailing 24-6 at half time, Leigh looked on course for another hammering, but they pulled themselves together and managed to level at 24-24.’
    pull punches
    • usually with negative Be less forceful, severe, or violent than one could be.

      ‘a sharp-tongued critic who doesn't pull his punches’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Intensity is what she is after and you don't normally get that by pulling your punches, though of course understatement and restraint can sometimes be equally effective.’
      • ‘That's not to say that our aging pair of (now slightly dowdy) French rascals are going to be pulling their punches at all.’
      • ‘But Jenkins isn't exactly known for pulling his punches and the remark is in line with his sharp-tongued commentary.’
      • ‘I've pulled my punches with a few people, where they seemed sensitive.’
      • ‘Brower was daring, versatile, and never pulled his punches.’
      • ‘In fairness to Roy he has never pulled his punches but I'm not sure if airing his club's dirty linen so publicly is the right thing for the captain of the club to do.’
    pull someone's leg
    • Deceive someone playfully; tease someone.

      ‘getting married—are you pulling my leg?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The most skeptical responses, also unsurprisingly, were in Toronto, where everyone thought I was pulling their leg.’
      • ‘When they called to tell us we'd won, I thought they were pulling my leg.’
      • ‘When Pierce called, I thought it was someone pulling my leg, but he kept talking about the book and a film and I realised I was talking to the real thing.’
      • ‘For example, when a friend who lives in England told me of a death metal band fronted by a parrot, I was inclined to suspect he was pulling my leg.’
      • ‘I thought she was pulling my leg - until he arrived on my doorstep.’
      • ‘Unless of course the guy who told me these things was pulling my leg.’
      • ‘He said friends and colleagues had pulled his leg about the attention he received as a result of the rescue.’
    pull something out of the bag
    British informal
    • Succeed in doing something unexpectedly or by making a great effort.

      • ‘Ross played brilliantly to pull a win out of the bag’
      • ‘I hope they can pull it out of the bag and become Super League champions’
    pull strings
    • Make use of one's influence and contacts to gain an advantage unofficially or unfairly.

      ‘he tried to pull strings with people he knew to avoid being called up’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now this is fine - he has some excellent contacts, knows how to pull strings, and is a fairly reasonable guy.’
      • ‘They view him as, you know, this sort of mastermind who, you know, pulls strings from the shadows and things of that nature.’
      • ‘One interesting character is the morally ambiguous mastermind Mr Haddon, who pulls strings behind the scenes and gives Ellie most of her funding.’
      • ‘He may feel that he's pulling strings, that that he lights a fire here and everyone rushes to that one, and then he lights a fire there and everyone rushes to there.’
      • ‘Either this has not been thought through properly, or someone is pulling strings to ensure a head start at the elections in September 2003.’
      • ‘There must be someone at the centre of a web, pulling strings, yanking cords, tugging ropes and generally causing all their misery and pain or lulling them into dry boredom.’
      • ‘The only magic is councillors pulling strings.’
    pull the other one
    British informal
    • Used to express a suspicion that one is being deceived or teased.

      • ‘Your boat was sunk by a swordfish? Pull the other one!’
      • ‘This kind of case makes me want to cry in anger, and laugh with mirth, both at the same time. It's rather like saying that Catholic priests could and would never indulge in immoral practices either - pull the other one!’
      • ‘Those big and burly beer drinking men would laugh deep and hard at hearing this, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah… pull the other one!’’
      • ‘As they don't say in Finland: pull the other one, it's got bells on it.’
      • ‘When ShowBiz Ireland got the call late yesterday evening stating that Westlife would be in town at 6pm to open the new O2 Experience Store we thought: ‘yeah right - pull the other one,’ what with it being April's Fools Day and all…’
      • ‘But it would certainly be possible that, having had one of my legs pulled, I should challenge the leg-puller with Go on, pull the other one!’
      • ‘Or, as we tend to say these days: pull the other one, Nasser, it's got bells on.’
      • ‘Yeah, right, pull the other one Michael, we all know it's just another of your loony affectations.’
      • ‘I want the good life, but I don't want an easy ride, what I want is to work for it, feel the blood and sweat on my fingertips… yeah, yeah, yeah, pull the other one missy.’
      • ‘Here I say pull the other one matey, who are you trying to kid?’
      • ‘Sure, sure, yeah, pull the other one kid, it has got bells on.’
    pull the plug
    • Prevent something from happening or continuing.

      • ‘the company pulled the plug on the deal because it was not satisfied with the terms’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Russia abruptly pulled the plug on its only nationwide independent television station yesterday, giving the Kremlin a monopoly of the airwaves for the first time since the Soviet era.’
      • ‘Checker, which began trading at terminal three despite fierce opposition from black cab drivers, pulled the plug on the venture after amassing losses of £100,000.’
      • ‘Hundreds of thousands of pounds was due to be spent improving safety on the line - both on carriages and at stations - until the Strategic Rail Authority pulled the plug on funding.’
      • ‘We went from Hollywood to Mammoth, which was a boutique inside of Hollywood, then Disney pulled the plug on Mammoth six weeks before our record came out.’
      • ‘Also at the meeting were bosses from Kelda, the holding company of Yorkshire Water, which pulled the plug on funding just two months after selling the plant to EPR.’
      • ‘The councillor said he had gone up to the Dail ‘on his own back’ to picket after the Minister pulled the plug on their scheduled meeting.’
      • ‘A block of flats evacuated to make way for the Metrolink is due to be bulldozed - even though the government has pulled the plug on expanding the tram system.’
    pull the strings
    • Be in control of events or of other people's actions.

      ‘it's uncomfortable to know that someone else is pulling the strings’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Girls are the smart ones, they let the guys think they control the world, but they pull the strings.’
      • ‘When is either man happier than when he is downloading the responsibility and cost of governing onto governments other than his own, while still trying to pull the strings?’
      • ‘‘It's hard when someone pulls the strings,’ he added.’
      • ‘The skillful dealers are always seeking for a better place to sell their stuff and can change their boss, the one who actually stands higher in the hierarchy and pulls the strings.’
      • ‘The algorithm is clear - the real leader formally gets into the reserve forces but actually pulls the strings behind the curtain.’
      • ‘The man who pulls the strings at East End Park is desperate to emerge from the shadows of a difficult season as Celtic pay a cup visit.’
      • ‘The British Council board has always been a good indicator of who pulls the strings.’
    pull together
    • Cooperate in a task or undertaking.

      ‘employees and managers began to pull together as a team’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I think it does show that we can get along and that we can live together and work together and pull together.’
      • ‘From sound effects, to stage management and costumes and make-up, through to directing and acting, BAD showed that they are a team that pulls together.’
      • ‘This squad undoubtedly has the talent but unless it unites and pulls together then they are wasting their time and unfortunately at the moment that's the way it appears.’
      • ‘Hopefully, with a little work, the team can pull together in the future.’
      • ‘Some dramatic events make the groups pull together as teams, and some timely remarks make them take a closer look at their lives.’
      • ‘The community has already started to pull together to support the club.’
      • ‘We will all pull together as a team and give 100 per cent commitment, that's for sure.’
    pull wires
    • Make use of one's influence and contacts to gain an advantage unofficially or unfairly.

Phrasal Verbs

    pull back
    • 1Retreat from an area.

      ‘the pact called on the rival forces to pull back and allow a neutral force to take control’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘As we start to trust each other a little more, most troops will be pulled back and returned to their barracks,’ he said.’
      • ‘If British troops were pulled back now what then?’
      1. 1.1pull someone or something back, pull back someone or somethingCause troops to retreat from an area.
        • ‘the forces must have protection, or they will be pulled back to safe areas’
      2. 1.2Withdraw from an undertaking.
        ‘the party pulled back from its only positive policy’
        • ‘In times of danger and uncertainty, the auto industry - suppliers and OEMs alike - pull back and withdraw.’
        • ‘He ‘would not be party’ to pulling back from war, the Prime Minister stated.’
        • ‘‘If a front row goes down the opposition pulls back, and your own back five instinctively realise there is something wrong and cease pushing’ he explains.’
        • ‘But if that's true, it's true whether or not Israel pulls back.’
        • ‘So I think that he's not going to be someone who pulls back.’
    • 2also pull something back, pull back somethingBritish (in sport) improve or restore a team's position by scoring a goal.

      ‘Rovers pulled back to 4–3 with a goal two minutes from time’
      • ‘he pulled back a goal three minutes before half time’
      • ‘Victoria pulled a goal back but Lee scored his second of the match to increase the lead to 3-1.’
      • ‘Denholme pulled a goal back late in the game but it was little consolation.’
      • ‘Endmoor pulled a goal back and the game remained close until Lowis scored his second to make the result certain and keep Lunesdale's promotion hopes alive.’
      • ‘They rallied in the second half and pulled a goal back only to see Grindleton score a sixth.’
      • ‘After going two behind and pulling both goals back, they conceded a last-gasp penalty to lose the match 3-2.’
    pull down
    • 1pull something down, pull down somethingDemolish a building.

      ‘the house was pulled down and the site redeveloped’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was feared the building could be pulled down or made into flats.’
      • ‘It's easy to pull buildings down but you can never put them back up again.’
    • 2pull something down, pull down something informal Earn a specified sum of money.

      • ‘he was pulling down sixty grand a year’
      • ‘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).’
    pull in
    • 1(of a vehicle) move to the side of or off the road.

      ‘he pulled in at the kerb’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It began to slow down and pulled in to the side of the road, right next to Cannington.’
      • ‘I sat in my car for fifteen minutes watching each vehicle pull in, realizing I hadn't a clue what he drove.’
      1. 1.1(of a bus or train) arrive to take passengers.
        ‘he was ready and waiting half an hour before the express pulled in’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Three minutes later as the train is pulling in, she taps me on the shoulder and says ‘Is this the right train for Oxford Circus?’’
        • ‘A train was just pulling in and I lurched on board, collapsing onto a seat opposite a rather startled man who, bless him, dug into his pocket for a paper tissue.’
    • 2pull something in, pull in somethingSucceed in securing or obtaining something.

      ‘the party pulled in 10 per cent of the vote’
      • ‘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. 2.1 informal Earn a specified sum of money.
        • ‘you could pull in £100,000’
        • ‘We have been fundraising all over the summer and like the Calendar Girls we needed to do something different to pull some money in.’
        • ‘At the peak of his power, Ed says he pulled in $10,000 to $15,000 a week, storing the money in $20 bills in stacks of boxes.’
    • 3pull someone in, pull in someone informal Arrest someone.

      • ‘I'd pull him in for questioning’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Even very high officers might be pulled in as suspects,’ they said.’
      • ‘He said from the embassy that he had been pulled in and threatened four times by armed Spanish police, who, he claimed, were drunk.’
      arrest, apprehend, detain, take into custody, take prisoner, seize, capture, catch, take in
      View synonyms
    • 4pull something in, pull in somethingUse reins to check a horse.

      ‘just beyond the village hall the farmer pulled in his horse’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Trek grabbed some mane, and the reins, pulling them in.’
      • ‘Michael pulled the horse in and stroked his coat gently, still sensing that trouble was coming, although it seemed impossible that it would snow in Southern Texas.’
    pull off
    • 1pull something off, pull off something informal Succeed in achieving or winning something difficult.

      • ‘he pulled off a brilliant first round win’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The thought of it is enough to make you wince, but the performers are skilled enough to pull it off.’
      • ‘They can play a whole set of completely new material and still pull it off.’
    • 2US (of a vehicle) move to the side of or off the road.

      • ‘there is no place to pull off in case of an accident’
    pull on
    • pull on somethingInhale deeply while smoking a pipe, cigarette, or cigar.

      • ‘she pulled on her cigarette and blew the smoke at him’
    pull out
    • 1(of a vehicle) move out from the side of the road, or from its normal position in order to overtake.

      ‘as he turned the corner a police car pulled out in front of him’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Vehicles pull out in front of you, people run into the road and, on one occasion, a tattooed man wearing a vest and carrying boxes walked right out in front of me.’
      • ‘We trooped back into the car and Ken pulled out onto the road so fast that the tyres screeched in protest.’
      1. 1.1(of a bus or train) leave with its passengers.
        ‘the train pulled out of the station at 2.05’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘As the train pulled out of Winchester, he staggered to his feet and zig-zagged down the carriage to the toilet.’
        • ‘I watched helplessly as my train pulled out of the station.’
    • 2Withdraw from an undertaking.

      ‘he was forced to pull out of the championship because of an injury’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The collapse convinced Els to pull out of The Players Championship the following week and give the damaged wrist a rest.’
      • ‘Supermarket giant Morrisons today reported booming sales and profits - but warned it might pull out of a deal for rival Safeway if it was ordered to shut down too many of its existing stores.’
      1. 2.1Retreat from an area.
        ‘the army pulled out, leaving the city in ruins’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘It sparked a revolution - and a second in October pulled Russia out of the war.’
        • ‘He pulled England out its wars and ruthlessly cracked down on social dissent.’
      2. 2.2pull someone out, pull out someoneCause to retreat from an area.
        • ‘the CIA had pulled its operatives out of Tripoli’
      3. 2.3(during sexual intercourse) withdraw the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation.
        • ‘just because you're ‘positive’ you can pull out in time doesn't mean you shouldn't be using protection’
    pull over
    • 1(of a vehicle) move to the side of or off the road.

      ‘I decided to pull over on to the hard shoulder’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If in any case your radiator overheats while you are stuck in traffic, the best thing to do is pull over and stop.’
      • ‘Currently, lorries pull over on the side of the road to unload and traffic passes around them.’
      1. 1.1pull someone over, pull over someone(of the police) cause a driver to move to the side of the road to be charged for a traffic offense.
        ‘he was pulled over for speeding’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Or maybe it was the helpful police officer who pulled us over because the gas cap on the passenger side of the car hadn't been closed.’
        • ‘Police pulled him over and administered a breathalyser test, which he failed.’
    pull round
    • Recover from a period of illness.

      ‘he was beginning to pull round after his operation’
      • ‘His devastated sister, Heather, who donated healthy stem cells in a ‘one in a million’ match, said Simon started to pull round, but his immune system was low after chemotherapy.’
      • ‘We never failed to take our daily anti-malaria pills, so it was not a very bad attack, but affecting the digestive system as this form of malaria usually did, it was very debilitating and it took him a fair time to pull round from it.’
    pull through
    • Get through an illness or other dangerous or difficult situation.

      ‘the illness is difficult to overcome, but we hope she'll pull through’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It gave them something sure to hold on to, to pull them through all the danger and hardship.’
      • ‘If you don't let them know that there's hope, they won't pull it through.’
    pull up
    • 1(of a vehicle) come to a halt.

      ‘he pulled up outside the cottage’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then I heard cars, and I turned to see a caravan of vehicles pulling up behind mine.’
      • ‘Sasha would pull up in whatever vehicle they were able to steal and they would load up as much as they could carry.’
    • 2pull something up, pull up somethingIncrease the altitude of an aircraft.

      ‘the pilot pulled the plane up in an attempt to avoid the building’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘I used to fly over a city or town, buzz it and pull up doing a climbing slow roll.’
      • ‘The pilot scores a hit as he pulls up and heads around for another pass.’
    • 3pull someone up, pull up someoneCause someone to stop or pause; check.

      ‘the shock of his words pulled her up short’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We only moved on a few short steps before I stopped and pulled us up sharp.’
      • ‘But you are pulled up with a surprising jolt with a visit to the island's pretty capital, Victoria - known to the locals as Rabat.’
      1. 3.1British Reprimand someone.
        ‘she never failed to pull us up and tell us to stop’
        • ‘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).’
        • ‘Ten minutes into the second half Boyne were pulled up for crossing.’
        • ‘The honourable member for Grayndler was pulled up for using the term bigot.’


Old English pullian ‘pluck, snatch’; origin uncertain; the sense has developed from expressing a short sharp action to one of sustained force.