Meaning of PUSH in English

I. push 1 S1 W2 /pʊʃ/ BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ push , ↑ pusher , ↑ pushiness ; adjective : ↑ pushed , ↑ pushy ; verb : ↑ push ]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: poulser 'to hit, push' , from Latin pulsare , from pellere 'to drive, hit' ]

1 . MOVE [intransitive and transitive] to make someone or something move by pressing them with your hands, arms etc OPP pull :

It didn’t move, so she pushed harder.

I promised to push him on the swings for as long as he wanted.

shoppers pushing their grocery carts

push somebody/something away/back/aside etc

She pushed him away.

Maria pushed her hair back from her forehead.

push somebody/something towards/into etc something

Philip pushed him towards the door.

push something open/shut

I slowly pushed the door open.

2 . BUTTON/SWITCH [intransitive and transitive] to press a button, switch etc in order to make a piece of equipment start or stop working SYN press :

I got in and pushed the button for the fourth floor.

Push the green button to start the engine.

3 . TRY TO GET PAST [intransitive] to use your hands, arms etc to make people or things move, so that you can get past them:

Don’t push. Everyone will get a turn.

push (your way) past/through/into etc

A fat man pushed past me in his rush to leave.

She pushed her way to the front.

4 . ENCOURAGE [transitive] to encourage or force someone to do something or to work hard:

Encourage your kids to try new things, but try not to push them too hard.

athletes who push their bodies to the limit

push yourself

He’s been pushing himself too hard, working 12-hour days.

push somebody into (doing) something

My husband pushed me into leaving the job.

push somebody to do something

The teachers pushed the students to achieve.

5 . PERSUADE [intransitive and transitive] to try to persuade people to accept your ideas, opinions etc in order to achieve something:

The president is trying to push his agenda in Congress.

push for

He was pushing hard for welfare reform.

push to do something

Company representatives are pushing to open foreign markets to their products.

push something on somebody

We don’t try to push our religion on anyone.

6 . CHANGE [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to change someone’s situation, or to make a situation change, especially when some people do not want it to change:

The law would push even more children into poverty.

attempts to push the peace process forward

7 . INCREASE/DECREASE [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to increase or decrease an amount, value, or number

push something up/down

Slow sales have pushed down orders.

push something higher/lower

New technology has pushed the cost of health care even higher.

8 . ARMY [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] if an army pushes somewhere, it moves in that direction:

The army was pushing north.

We pushed deep into enemy territory.

9 . ADVERTISE [transitive] informal to try to sell more of a product by advertising it a lot:

Sports stars earn big bucks for pushing everything from shoes to soft drinks.

10 . DRUGS [transitive] informal to sell illegal drugs ⇨ ↑ pusher

11 . be pushing 40/50 etc informal to be nearly 40, 50 etc years old

12 . push your luck/push it informal to do something or ask for something, especially something you have done or asked for before, when this is likely to annoy someone or involves a risk:

If she doesn’t want to go, don’t push it.

It’s 26 miles, so you’re pushing your luck if you try to hike it in a day.

13 . push something out of your mind ( also push something to the back of your mind ) to try not to think about something, especially something bad or worrying:

He pushed the thought out of his mind and tried to concentrate.

14 . push (sb’s) buttons informal to make someone feel strong emotions:

Movies shouldn’t be afraid to push a few buttons.

15 . push the boat out British English informal to spend more money than you usually do, on something special:

Push the boat out and get tickets to the theatre or ballet.

16 . push the point to keep trying to make someone accept your opinion in a way that they think is annoying

17 . push the envelope American English to do something that is new and that goes beyond the limits of what has already been done in a particular area of activity

push the envelope of/on

ideas that push the envelope of design and construction

18 . be pushing up (the) daisies informal to be dead – used humorously

⇨ ↑ pushed , ↑ pushing

• • •


▪ push to make something or someone move by pressing them with your hands, arms etc:

Push the door, don’t pull it.


She pushed him away and walked out.

▪ shove to push someone or something in a rough or careless way:

People were shoving to get to the front of the queue.


Tom shoved his suitcase under the bed.

▪ stuff informal to push something quickly and carelessly into a small space:

She stuffed a few clothes into a bag and left.

▪ poke to push someone or something with your finger or something sharp:

I poked the snake with a stick but it was dead.

▪ nudge to push someone beside you gently with your elbow to get their attention:

Toby nudged me and pointed out of the window.

▪ roll to push something round or something on wheels so that it moves forward:

They rolled the logs down the hill.


The car still didn’t start so we tried to roll it off the road.

▪ wheel to push something with wheels, for example a bicycle or a ↑ trolley , so that it moves forward, while guiding it with your hands:

Rob wheeled his bike round the back of the house.

push ahead phrasal verb

to continue with a plan or an activity, especially in a determined way

push ahead with

Quinlan decided to push ahead with the deal.

push along phrasal verb

must/should etc be pushing along British English spoken used to say that you think it is time for you to leave a place:

It’s getting late – I think we should be pushing along.

push somebody around ( also push somebody about British English ) phrasal verb

to tell someone what to do in an impolite or threatening way:

Europeans sometimes feel the Americans are trying to push them around.

push somebody/something aside phrasal verb

1 . push something ↔ aside to try to forget about something, especially something unpleasant, so that you can give your attention to what you are doing:

She pushed aside her anger, forcing herself to focus on her work.

2 . to force someone out of their job or position, taking the job in their place:

Primakov was pushed aside but later became head of Intelligence.

push yourself forward phrasal verb

British English to try to make other people notice you:

Rupert was a quiet type, not one to push himself forward.

push in phrasal verb

British English informal to go in front of other people who are already waiting in a line for something, instead of going to the back of the line:

A couple of boys pushed in at the head of the queue.

push off phrasal verb

1 . to start moving in a boat, on a bicycle, or when swimming or jumping, by pushing against something with your arms, legs etc:

Dad pushed off and jumped into the rowboat.

2 . British English spoken used to tell someone rudely to go away

push on phrasal verb

1 . to continue travelling somewhere, especially after you have had a rest:

We decided to push on a little further.

2 . to continue doing an activity

push on with

Nixon pushed on with the weapons development program.

push somebody/something ↔ over phrasal verb

to make someone or something fall to the ground by pushing them:

He went wild, pushing over tables and chairs.

push something ↔ through ( also push something through something ) phrasal verb

to get a plan, law etc officially accepted, especially quickly:

The planning application was pushed through as quickly as possible.

II. push 2 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ push , ↑ pusher , ↑ pushiness ; adjective : ↑ pushed , ↑ pushy ; verb : ↑ push ]

1 . PUSHING MOVEMENT [countable] when someone pushes something OPP pull :

Jodi had stopped swinging. ‘Want a push?’ her dad asked.

If the door’s stuck, just give it a push.

at/with the push of a button (=used to emphasize how easy a machine is to use)

Files can be attached to your email at the push of a button.

2 . EFFORT [countable] when someone, especially a business, tries to get or achieve something:

the pre-Christmas advertising push

push into

The company has recently made a big push into the Japanese market.

push for

the push for improved productivity

push to do something

a push to attract new members

3 . ENCOURAGEMENT [singular] if someone gives someone else a push, they encourage or persuade them to try something:

She just needed a gentle push to get her to join in.

4 . ARMY [countable] a planned military movement into the area where the enemy is

push into

The army has made another big push into enemy territory.

5 . give somebody the push/get the push British English informal

a) if your employer gives you the push, they make you leave your job:

I was scared I’d get the push.

b) if someone you are having a romantic relationship with gives you the push, they tell you that they no longer want to continue the relationship

6 . when/if push comes to shove ( also if it comes to the push British English ) spoken if a situation becomes very difficult or action needs to be taken:

If push comes to shove, you can always sell the car.

7 . at a push British English informal if you can do something at a push, it will be difficult, but you will be able to do it:

We have room for five people, maybe six at a push.

8 . it’ll be a push British English spoken used to say that something will be difficult because you do not have enough time to do it:

I’ll do my best, but it’ll be a bit of a push.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.