/ pʊl; NAmE / verb , noun
MOVE / REMOVE STH
to hold sth firmly and use force in order to move it or try to move it towards yourself :
[ v ]
You push and I'll pull.
Don't pull so hard or the handle will come off.
I pulled on the rope to see if it was secure.
[ vn ]
Stop pulling her hair!
She pulled him gently towards her.
[ vn - adj ]
Pull the door shut.
[ vn , usually + adv. / prep. ] to remove sth from a place by pulling :
Pull the plug out.
She pulled off her boots.
He pulled a gun on me (= took out a gun and aimed it at me) .
[ vn + adv. / prep. ] to move sb/sth in a particular direction by pulling :
Pull your chair nearer the table.
He pulled on his sweater.
She took his arm and pulled him along.
[ vn ] to hold or be attached to sth and move it along behind you :
In this area oxen are used to pull carts.
[+ adv. / prep. ] to move your body or a part of your body in a particular direction, especially using force :
[ v ]
He tried to kiss her but she pulled away.
[ vn ]
The dog snapped at her and she quickly pulled back her hand.
[ vn - adj ]
John pulled himself free and ran off.
[ vn ] to open or close curtains, etc.
SYN draw :
Pull the curtains—it's dark outside.
[ vn ] to damage a muscle, etc. by using too much force :
to pull a muscle / ligament / tendon
➡ note at injure
[ vn ] to move a switch, etc. towards yourself or down in order to operate a machine or piece of equipment :
Pull the lever to start the motor.
Don't pull the trigger!
VEHICLE / ENGINE
pull (sth) to the right / the left / one side to move or make a vehicle move sideways :
[ v ]
The wheel is pulling to the left.
[ vn ]
She pulled the car to the right to avoid the dog.
[ v ] ( of an engine ) to work hard and use a lot of power :
The old car pulled hard as we drove slowly up the hill.
[usually + adv. / prep. ] to use oars to move a boat along :
[ v ]
They pulled towards the shore.
[also vn ]
CROWD / SUPPORT
[ vn ] pull sb/sth (in) to attract the interest or support of sb/sth :
They pulled in huge crowds on their latest tour.
( BrE , informal ) to attract sb sexually :
[ vn ]
He can still pull the girls.
[ v ]
She's hoping to pull tonight.
TRICK / CRIME
[ vn ] ( informal ) to succeed in playing a trick on sb, committing a crime, etc. :
He's pulling some sort of trick on you.
[ vn ] ( informal ) to cancel an event; to stop showing an advertisement, etc. :
The gig was pulled at the last moment.
- pull a fast one (on sb)
- pull in different / opposite directions
- pull sb's leg
- pull the other one (—it's got bells on)
- pull out all the stops
- pull the plug on sb/sth
- pull your punches
- pull sth / a rabbit out of the hat
- pull rank (on sb)
- pull the rug (out) from under sb's feet
- pull your socks up
- pull strings (for sb)
- pull the strings
- pull up stakes
- pull your weight
- pull the wool over sb's eyes
—more at bootstrap , face noun , horn , piece noun , shred noun
- pull ahead (of sb/sth)
- pull sb/sth apart
- pull sth apart
- pull at sth
- pull away (from sth)
- pull back
- pull sb back
- pull back | pull sth back
- pull sb down
- pull sth down
- pull sb in
- pull sth in / down
- pull in (to sth)
- pull off | pull off sth
- pull sth off
- pull on / at sth
- pull out
- pull out (of sth)
- pull sb/sth out (of sth)
- pull over
- pull sb/sth over
- pull through | pull through sth
- pull sb through | pull sb through sth
- pull together
- pull yourself together
- pull up
- pull sb up
TRYING TO MOVE STH
[ C ] an act of trying to make sth move by holding it firmly and bringing it towards you :
I gave the door a sharp pull and it opened.
[ sing. ] the ~ (of sth) a strong physical force that makes sth move in a particular direction :
the earth's gravitational pull
[ C , usually sing. ] the ~ (of sth) the fact of sth attracting you or having a strong effect on you :
The magnetic pull of the city was hard to resist.
[ U ] ( informal ) power and influence over other people :
people who have a lot of pull with the media
ON CIGARETTE / DRINK
[ C ] pull (at / on sth) an act of taking a deep breath of smoke from a cigarette, etc. or a deep drink of sth :
She took a long pull on her cigarette.
WALK UP HILL
[ C , usually sing. ] ( BrE ) a difficult walk up a steep hill :
It's a long pull up to the summit.
[ C ] an injury to a muscle caused by using too much force
HANDLE / ROPE
[ C ] (especially in compounds) something such as a handle or rope that you use to pull sth :
a bell / door pull
—see also ring pull
- on the pull
drag ♦ draw ♦ haul ♦ tow ♦ tug
These words all mean to move sth in a particular direction, especially towards or behind you.
to hold sth and move it in a particular direction; to hold or be attached to a vehicle and move it along behind you:
Pull the chair nearer the table.
They use oxen to pull their carts.
to pull sb/sth in a particular direction or behind you, usually along the ground, and especially with effort:
The sack is too heavy to lift—you'll have to drag it.
( formal ) to move sb/sth by pulling them / it gently; to pull a vehicle such as a carriage:
I drew my chair closer to the fire.
a horse-drawn carriage
to pull sb/sth to a particular place with a lot of effort:
Fishermen were hauling in their nets.
drag or haul?
You usually drag sth behind you along the ground; you usually haul sth towards you, often upwards towards you. Dragging sth often needs effort, but hauling sth always does.
to pull a car, boat or light plane behind another vehicle, using a rope or chain:
Our car was towed away by the police.
to pull sb/sth hard in a particular direction:
She tried to escape but he tugged her back.
PATTERNS AND COLLOCATIONS :
to pull / drag / draw / haul / tow / tug sth back / away / out
to pull / drag / draw / haul / tow / tug sb/sth along / down / towards sth
to pull / drag / draw / haul / tow sb/sth behind you
to pull / draw a coach / carriage / sledge
to pull / haul / tow a truck
to pull / haul a train
horses pull / draw / haul sth
dogs pull / drag / haul sth
engines / locomotives pull / haul sth
Old English pullian pluck, snatch ; origin uncertain; the sense has developed from expressing a short sharp action to one of sustained force.