I. pull 1 S1 W1 /pʊl/ BrE AmE verb
[ Language: Old English ; Origin: pullian ]
1 . MOVE SOMETHING TOWARDS YOU [intransitive and transitive] to use your hands to make something or someone move towards you or in the direction that your hands are moving OPP push :
Mom! Davey’s pulling my hair!
pull somebody/something into/away from/over etc something
He pulled her down into her seat.
pull something open/shut
She pulled open the door and hurried inside.
2 . REMOVE [transitive] to use force to take something from the place where it is fixed or held:
She has to have two teeth pulled.
pull something out/off/away etc
Vicky had pulled the arm off her doll.
3 . MAKE SOMETHING FOLLOW YOU [transitive] to be attached to something or hold something and make it move behind you in the direction you are going:
a tractor pulling a trailer
4 . TAKE SOMETHING OUT [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to take something out of a bag, pocket etc with your hand:
He pulled out his wallet and said ‘let me pay’.
Ben pulled a pen from his pocket.
pull a gun/knife (on somebody) (=take one out, ready to use it)
5 . CLOTHING [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to put on or take off a piece of clothing, usually quickly
pull on/off/up/down etc
He pulled off his damp shirt.
6 . MOVE YOUR BODY
a) [I, T always + adv/prep] to move your body or part of your body away from someone or something
pull something away/free
She tried to pull her hand free, but it was held fast.
pull something out of/from something
She struggled fiercely, trying to pull her arm out of his grasp.
She pulled away from him.
b) pull yourself up/to your feet etc to hold onto something and use your strength to move your body towards it:
Benny pulled himself up from the floor with difficulty.
7 . MUSCLE [transitive] to injure one of your muscles by stretching it too much during physical activity SYN strain :
Paul pulled a muscle trying to lift the freezer.
8 . pull strings to secretly use your influence with important people in order to get what you want or to help someone else:
Francis pulled strings to get him out of trouble.
9 . pull the/sb’s strings to control something or someone, especially when you are not the person who is supposed to be controlling them:
It was widely believed that Montagu was secretly pulling the strings behind the Prime Minister.
10 . TRICK/CRIME [transitive] informal to succeed in doing something illegal or dishonest or in playing a trick on someone:
The gang have pulled another bank robbery.
He was trying to pull a fast one (=deceive you) when he told you he’d paid.
pull a stunt/trick/joke
Don’t you ever pull a stunt like that again!
11 . pull sb’s leg to tell someone something that is not true, as a joke:
I haven’t won, have I? You’re pulling my leg.
12 . pull the other one (it’s got bells on) British English spoken used to tell someone that you think they are joking or not telling the truth:
Your dad’s a racing driver? Pull the other one!
13 . SWITCH [transitive] to move a control such as a switch, ↑ lever , or ↑ trigger towards you to make a piece of equipment work:
She raised the gun, and pulled the trigger.
14 . pull the curtains/blinds to open or close curtains or ↑ blind s :
It was already getting dark so he pulled the curtains.
15 . CROWD/VOTES ETC [transitive] if an event, performer etc pulls crowds or a politician pulls a lot of votes, a lot of people come to see them or vote for them:
Muhammad Ali can still pull the crowds.
16 . ATTRACT/INFLUENCE [transitive] to attract or influence someone or their thoughts or feelings:
The city’s reputation for a clean environment has pulled new residents from other states.
17 . SEXUALLY ATTRACT [intransitive and transitive] British English spoken to attract someone in order to have sex with them or spend the evening with them:
He knew he could pull any girl he wanted.
18 . STOP EVENT [transitive] to stop a planned event from taking place:
They pulled the concert.
19 . pull sb’s licence informal to take away someone’s ↑ licence to do something, especially to drive a car, because they have done something wrong
20 . STOP A VEHICLE [intransitive and transitive] to drive a vehicle somewhere and stop, or to make a vehicle gradually slow down and stop
pull something into/towards/down etc something
She pulled the car into a side street.
The bus pulled to a halt.
21 . CAR [intransitive] if a car pulls to the left or right as you are driving, it moves in that direction because of a problem with its machinery
22 . something is like pulling teeth used to say that it is very difficult or unpleasant to persuade someone to do something:
Getting him to do his homework is like pulling teeth.
23 . BEER [transitive] British English to get beer out of a ↑ barrel by pulling a handle:
The barman laughed and began to pull a couple of pints.
24 . pull a punch to deliberately hit someone with less force than you could do, so that it hurts less ⇨ not pull any punches at ↑ punch 2 (6)
25 . CRICKET/GOLF/BASEBALL [intransitive and transitive] to hit the ball in ↑ cricket , golf, or baseball so that it does not go straight but moves to one side
26 . ROW A BOAT [intransitive and transitive] to make a boat move by using ↑ oar s
⇨ pull/make a face at ↑ face 1 (2), ⇨ pull your finger out at ↑ finger 1 (12), ⇨ pull rank (on somebody) at ↑ rank 1 (5), ⇨ pull the rug (out) from under sb’s feet at ↑ rug (3), ⇨ pull the plug (on something) at ↑ plug 1 (5), ⇨ pull your socks up at ↑ sock 1 (3), ⇨ pull your weight at ↑ weight 1 (12), ⇨ pull the wool over sb’s eyes at ↑ wool (4)
• • •
▪ pull to make something or someone move in the direction that your hands are moving:
He pulled her towards him and kissed her.
Sam was pulling on his socks.
▪ tug to pull something suddenly with a short quick movement, often to get someone’s attention:
‘Look,’ he said, tugging at his brother’s sleeve.
I tugged at the drawer but it wouldn’t open.
▪ drag to pull something along the ground, especially because it is heavy:
If we can’t lift the piano, we’ll have to drag it.
▪ haul to pull something big and heavy using a lot of effort, especially upwards and using a rope:
They hauled their boats further up the beach.
fishermen hauling in their nets
▪ heave to pull or lift something very heavy, especially with one movement:
He heaved the sack of sand onto his shoulder.
▪ draw formal to pull something or someone gently in a particular direction:
Lisa reached for his hand but he drew it away.
▪ pull to be attached to a vehicle or piece of machinery and make it move behind you in the direction you are going:
Ten dogs were pulling a sledge over the ice.
a tractor pulling a plough
▪ tow to pull a vehicle behind – used about a vehicle, a boat, or a horse pulling something using a rope or chain:
The car in front of us was towing a caravan.
Horses were used to tow the boats along the canals.
▪ draw to pull a vehicle such as a carriage – used especially about horses doing this:
a carriage drawn by four horses
a horse-drawn cart
pull ahead phrasal verb
if one vehicle pulls ahead of another, it gets in front of it by moving faster:
Schumacher pulled ahead of Montoya as the two drivers approached the first corner of the race.
pull apart phrasal verb
1 . pull something ↔ apart to separate something into pieces:
Pull the meat apart with two forks.
2 . pull somebody ↔ apart to make the relationships between people in a group bad or difficult:
His drinking pulled the family apart.
3 . pull something ↔ apart to carefully examine or criticize something:
The selection committee pulled each proposal apart.
4 . pull somebody/something ↔ apart to separate people or animals when they are fighting:
The fight ended only when the referee pulled the two players apart.
5 . if something pulls apart, it breaks into pieces when you pull on it
pull at/on something phrasal verb
1 . to take hold of something and pull it several times:
Mary was pulling nervously at her hair.
2 . to take smoke from a pipe or cigarette into your lungs:
He pulled hard on the cigarette.
3 . to take a long drink from a bottle or glass
pull away phrasal verb
1 . to start to drive away from a place where you had stopped:
He waved as he pulled away.
2 . to move ahead of a competitor by going faster or being more successful
pull away from
Nkoku is pulling away from the other runners.
pull back phrasal verb
1 . to decide not to do or become involved in something
pull back from
In the end, he pulled back from financing the film.
2 . to get out of a bad situation or dangerous place, or to make someone else do this
pull back from
Many banks are pulling back from international markets.
pull somebody ↔ back
They are preparing to pull back their forces.
3 . pull something ↔ back British English if a team that is losing pulls back a ↑ goal or some points, it succeeds in scoring a goal or some points:
Our play improved and we pulled back two goals.
pull down phrasal verb
1 . pull something ↔ down to destroy something or make it stop existing:
My old school was pulled down.
2 . pull down something to earn a particular amount of money:
Real estate stocks pulled down total returns of 35.7 percent.
3 . pull somebody down to make someone less successful, happy, or healthy:
Her problems have really pulled her down.
4 . pull down a menu to make a computer program show you a list of the things it can do
pull for somebody/something phrasal verb
informal to encourage a person or team to succeed:
The crowd were pulling for me to do well.
pull in phrasal verb
1 . if a driver pulls in, they move to the side of the road and stop:
She pulled in to let the ambulance pass.
2 . if a train pulls in, it arrives at a station OPP pull out
3 . pull somebody/something ↔ in to attract business, money, people etc:
a publicity stunt to pull in the crowds
4 . pull in something informal if you pull in a lot of money, you earn it
5 . pull somebody ↔ in if a police officer pulls someone in, they take them to a police station because they think that person may have done something wrong
pull off phrasal verb
1 . pull something ↔ off informal to succeed in doing something difficult:
The goalkeeper pulled off six terrific saves.
2 . pull off (something) to drive a car off a road in order to stop, or to turn into a smaller road:
We pulled off the road to get some food.
pull on something phrasal verb
to PULL AT something
pull out phrasal verb
a) to drive onto a road from another road or from where you have stopped:
Don’t pull out! There’s something coming.
b) to drive over to a different part of the road in order to get past a vehicle in front of you:
I pulled out to overtake a bus.
2 . if a train pulls out, it leaves a station OPP pull in
3 . to stop doing or being involved in something, or to make someone do this:
McDermott pulled out with an injury at the last minute.
pull out of
They are trying to pull out of the agreement.
pull somebody out of something
He threatened to pull his son out of the team.
4 . to get out of a bad situation or dangerous place, or to make someone or something do this:
Jim saw that the firm was going to be ruined, so he pulled out.
pull somebody/something ↔ out
Most of the troops have been pulled out.
pull out of
when the country was still pulling out of a recession
⇨ pull out all the stops at ↑ stop 2 (7)
pull over phrasal verb
to drive to the side of the road and stop your car, or to make someone else do this:
The policeman signalled to him to pull over.
pull somebody/something ↔ over
He pulled the car over.
A cop pulled him over and gave him a speeding ticket.
pull (somebody) through phrasal verb
1 . to stay alive after you have been very ill or badly injured, or to help someone do this:
His injuries are severe but he’s expected to pull through.
⇨ bring (somebody) through at ↑ bring
2 . to succeed in doing something very difficult, or to help someone to do this:
He relied on his experience to pull him through.
pull together phrasal verb
1 . if a group of people pull together, they all work hard to achieve something:
If we all pull together, we’ll finish on time.
2 . pull yourself together to force yourself to stop behaving in a nervous, frightened, or uncontrolled way:
With an effort Mary pulled herself together.
3 . pull something together to improve something by organizing it more effectively:
We need an experienced manager to pull the department together.
pull up phrasal verb
1 . to stop the vehicle that you are driving:
He pulled up in front of the gates.
2 . pull up a chair/stool etc to get a chair etc and sit down next to someone who is already sitting
3 . pull somebody up especially British English to stop someone who is doing something wrong and tell them you do not approve
pull somebody up on
I felt I had to pull her up on her lateness.
⇨ pull somebody up short at ↑ short 2 (7)
II. pull 2 BrE AmE noun
1 . ACT OF MOVING SOMETHING [countable] an act of using force to move something towards you or in the same direction that you are moving OPP push :
He gave her a sharp pull forward.
2 . FORCE [countable usually singular] a strong physical force that makes things move in a particular direction:
the gravitational pull of the moon
3 . ATTRACTION [countable usually singular] the ability to attract someone or have a powerful effect on them
After about a year I gave in to the pull of fatherhood.
4 . INFLUENCE [singular, uncountable] informal special influence or power over other people:
His family’s name gives him a lot of pull in this town.
5 . CLIMB [singular] British English a difficult climb up a steep road:
It was a long pull up the hill.
6 . MUSCLE [countable usually singular] an injury to one of your muscles, caused by stretching it too much during exercise:
a groin pull
7 . SMOKE/DRINK [countable] an act of taking the smoke from a cigarette, pipe etc into your ↑ lung s or of taking a long drink of something
She took a long pull on her cigarette.
8 . HANDLE [countable] a rope or handle that you use to pull something:
He popped the ring pull on another can of lager.
9 . CRICKET/GOLF/BASEBALL [countable] a way of hitting the ball in ↑ cricket , golf, or baseball so that it does not go straight, but moves to one side
10 . on the pull British English informal trying to find someone who will take part in sexual activity with you