Definition of pull in English:



  • 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’
    with object and complement ‘I pulled the door shut behind me’
    figurative ‘they are pulled in incompatible directions by external factors and their own beliefs’
    no object ‘the little boy pulled at her skirt’
    • ‘Quietly he moved towards the door, pulling it open just enough for him to squeeze through.’
    • ‘She grabbed Jack by the hand and tried to pull him towards the direction of Ayers Rock.’
    • ‘She starts pulling me towards the door and I am forced to follow.’
    • ‘I seized his arm with both hands and began pulling him towards the door.’
    • ‘She turned the giant clear doorknob on the heavy front door and forcefully pulled it towards herself.’
    • ‘Finola grabbed both Scempt and Maylin's wrists and pulled them towards the door.’
    • ‘He cheered her on, pulling her towards his car, a brand new, red Corvette.’
    • ‘Someone in front of her grabbed her and started pulling her 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He grabs my right hand and gently pulls me towards the door.’
    • ‘Smiling happily, Josh grabbed both of their hands and pulled them towards the doors.’
    • ‘I take her hand in mine and pull her towards the door.’
    • ‘The bell rang again, and with a growl, Jessi stumbled towards the door and pulled it open.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Aimée draped her carry-on bag over her shoulder and pulled the suitcase towards the door.’
    • ‘Two men jumped out of the vehicle, grabbing Alan's arms as they pulled him towards the car.’
    • ‘He did not wait for an answer before grabbing her hand and beginning to pull her towards the door.’
    • ‘Blair walked around the car and tried to pull Jim toward the door of their building.’
    • ‘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.’
    tug, haul, drag, draw, trail, tow, heave, lug, strain at, jerk, lever, prise, wrench, wrest, twist
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    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’
      • ‘Just five or ten years ago, the potato men would have come down this street in a wooden wagon pulled by a horse.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then out of nowhere came the sound of a cart being pulled by heavy horses.’
      • ‘Two horses were pulling the carriage but Jok was not guiding them.’
      • ‘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 horses pulling his carriage bolted and the carriage was left hanging over a bridge above the river Seine.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Waka, the Clydesdale horse pulls a wagon over a hundred years old, and the driver gives a commentary as you travel.’
      • ‘The simple wooden carriage was pulled by two horses, and was ridden by one lone figure.’
      • ‘The confusion, it seems, is because the horses pulling the royal carriage procession are being stabled at Imphal Barracks.’
      • ‘The horse started pulling the cart up the long cobbled driveway.’
      • ‘There, cows and geese sway and horses pull carts past old men who sit motionless in the shade of a few broad trees.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Animal lover Mrs Trueman's funeral carriage was pulled by the horses used in the recent funeral of East End gangster Reggie Kray.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Overworked horses pulling carriages laden with tourists trot frantically up the hill as the fierce morning sun beats down.’
    2. 1.2no object (of an engine) exert propulsive force; deliver power.
      ‘the engine warmed up quickly and pulled well’
      • ‘That the engine pulls firmly, with a creamy, discreet blare, across a broad rev-range helps.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The 115 bhp engine pulls well throughout its speed range, which peaks at 122 mph.’
      • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘Heading the little boat toward land the men pulled at the oars till nearly noon.’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 1.4pull oneself Move in a specified direction with effort, especially by taking hold of something and exerting force.
      ‘he pulled himself into the saddle’
      • ‘Alex reached out and grabbed the side of the opening, pulling himself forward with effort.’
      • ‘I scurried up and crawled into bed, pulling myself under the comfortable covers.’
      • ‘I put a great amount of effort into pulling myself up into a sitting position, but that didn't make my whereabouts any clearer.’
      • ‘With effort the turtle pulls himself over the ledge and then rests a moment.’
      • ‘Marc moved his leg gingerly and with great effort pulled himself to his feet.’
      • ‘The effort to pull myself back under the covers hurt just as much as standing up did.’
      • ‘He'd gone no more than a yard when Pritchard pulled himself up, moving slowly enough not to make any noise.’
      • ‘It took them an hour to move an inch up that pipe; pulling themselves along via their chins.’
      • ‘He could then pull himself up by fractions of an inch at a time.’
      • ‘Balou, in very critical condition had somehow managed to crawl home, pulling himself by his front paws.’
      • ‘He got his leg over the top, and started to pull himself up as he crawled forward.’
      • ‘One more effort like that to pull himself along the ground would finish him.’
      • ‘With an effort, she pulled herself upright, weaving through the crowd.’
      • ‘As he swung away he used a bit of the excess force to pull himself up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Once I relaxed and started to pull myself upward, I slid through the gap easily.’
      • ‘With great effort, she pulled herself back and slid her sword back against his blade.’
      • ‘‘Grab a hold of the edges and pull yourself up,’ Sean explained.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Typically, developing children sit up, crawl, pull themselves up, then toddle.’
      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
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    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’
      • ‘An extractor pulls empty cases part way from the chamber, where they can be removed with your fingers.’
      • ‘Trev went back to the bedroom to pull on clothes as Ford pulled the pizza box out of the fridge.’
      • ‘Instead, an extractor pulls empties from the chamber just far enough to allow you to grip and remove them.’
      • ‘I turned around towards the door, pulling my spare key out of my purse and unlocking it, walking inside.’
      • ‘I pulled out a comb and brushed my hair.’
      • ‘At the bottom of the lever's stroke, the extractor pulls the spent cartridge partially from the chamber.’
      • ‘The coleoptile could then be removed by carefully pulling it away from the kernel between the thumb and the forefinger.’
      • ‘She removed her hat and pulled the hair pins from her hair and let it hang loose down her back.’
      • ‘It will have an extractor to pull the fired shell out of the chamber, and an ejector to kick it out of the gun.’
      • ‘The cry turned into a growl as it turned around completely, taking the arrow in its teeth and pulling it out.’
      • ‘Stumbling to her dresser, she pulled out the first things she saw and pulled them on.’
      • ‘My hands trembling, I fumbled to remove my shoes and pull the boots on over my stockings.’
      • ‘If the bead is screwed in place, remove the screws and pull it out with pliers.’
      • ‘From behind his back, he pulled out a menu like he was a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘She carefully removed her headdress and pulled the choir robe over her head.’
      • ‘Tricia opened the fridge and pulled out a carton of milk, then pulled a saucer out of a cabinet.’
      pull out, draw out, take out, extract, remove, root out
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    6. 1.6 Damage (a muscle, ligament, etc.) by abnormal strain.
      ‘he pulled a calf muscle in the first half of the game and had to be replaced’
      • ‘Broken noses, bad backs and pulled muscles seemed to lie everywhere.’
      • ‘Pain throbbed in pulled muscles and throughout a multitude of new cuts, bruises and scratches.’
      • ‘Whether a rolled ankle, a torn ligament or a pulled muscle, rare is the athlete who has not had to battle through physical pain.’
      • ‘The cramps possibly were a side effect of a pulled muscle suffered in winter ball last year.’
      • ‘I knew someone who pulled both their hamstring muscles because they didn't stretch.’
      • ‘You guys must all paddle the same and all overcompensate somehow to have pulled that muscle.’
      • ‘This was no pulled muscle, Ivan thought as he crumpled against the doorway he had just walked through.’
      • ‘She refused and subsequently suffered injuries to her shoulder, pulled muscles and bruises.’
      • ‘The Jets weren't going to suffer a mass of broken bones, torn ligaments and pulled muscles on his watch.’
      • ‘He rubbed at his neck, the pulled muscle had caused him agony all night but he hadn't dared to show it.’
      • ‘Pleasurable when you get there but try not to pull a muscle or strain something else trying to saddle up.’
      • ‘Wright might not be able to start the opener because of a pulled stomach muscle.’
      • ‘Which means that this winter promises to be a blur of pounding damp London streets, probable pulled groin muscles and blisters.’
      • ‘When strain is put on the knee, the muscles around the kneecap can be pulled.’
      • ‘She felt like she had a back strain or pulled ligament in her right side above her hip.’
      • ‘You see a lot more strains and pulled muscles that can end up hampering the player all year long.’
      • ‘Flexible muscles are far less likely to be strained or pulled than tight ones.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      strain, sprain, turn, wrench, rick, stretch, tear
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    7. 1.7informal Bring out (a weapon) for use against someone.
      ‘it's not every day a young woman pulls a gun on a burglar’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Have you ever had someone pull a gun on you?’
      • ‘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
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    8. 1.8British Draw (beer) from a barrel to serve.
      ‘he ordered three beers and the barman pulled them’
      • ‘Pretend you've worked in a pub before, learn how to pull a decent pint and your laughing!’
      • ‘The staff know what they're doing, and how to pull a pint, but will leave you in peace.’
    9. 1.9pull at/onno object Inhale deeply while smoking (a pipe, cigarette, or cigar)
      ‘she pulled on her cigarette and blew the smoke at him’
      • ‘He took another pull at the now half-gone smoke and leaned back again with a sudden hard grin.’
      • ‘Filling them in our imagination with rugs and pack saddles and couched animals and merchants pulling on hookahs.’
      • ‘He took a pull at his pipe.’
    10. 1.10Computing Retrieve (an item of data) from the top of a stack.
      • ‘The image database continues to pull from Google at this point.’
      • ‘Data may be pulled from a single knowledge base or multiple databases throughout the enterprise.’
  • 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’
    • ‘We finally pulled ahead of her at one of the no-lane free-for-alls after the toll booth.’
    • ‘Figures released today showed that while sales pulled ahead for most of May, the rain curbed shoppers' enthusiasm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'm starting to pull ahead in that last, though, so that's good.’
    • ‘Hawks pulled further ahead when scrummaging with only seven men.’
    • ‘His chance to move up the field came as those ahead started pulling into the pits for the obligatory wheel change.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The effect of his outburst is happily plain to see in the latest opinion poll showing Labour pulling ahead of the Tories.’
    • ‘As the United States pulls farther and farther ahead of Europe economically, this idea appears more and more perverse.’
    • ‘Kenmare pulled ahead by three points with another point from a free.’
    • ‘Having stopped the rot and prevented Hearts pulling any further ahead of them, the next task is pegging them back.’
    • ‘This process plays out a bit like cars on the interstate: Eventually a pack of Maseratis will pull ahead as the Pintos fall back.’
    • ‘They pulled further ahead when Stark wrong-footed the home defence with a cross field run which fooled everyone.’
    • ‘It didn't take long for the boys to start pulling away.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His tractor was ‘breaking traction’ but was moving so he kept pulling ahead as the car was coming closer.’
    • ‘With a no nonsense attitude, the Captain pinned his ears and steadily pulled away to win by three.’
    • ‘What's going on is that Tesco's is pulling further ahead and Sainsbury's is catching up.’
    • ‘Europe's benchmark stock indexes have lagged comparable US measures this year, but they may soon start to pull ahead.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘He tried to pull away from the men but he could not.’
      • ‘He didn't make a move to stop her or pull away from her.’
      • ‘Cathy tried to pull away from him but he wouldn't let her.’
      • ‘I pull away from Jeremy, my left hand moving straight to my mouth.’
      • ‘A chill descends down my spine as I pull away from the Caddy.’
  • 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 it has a large-screen TV, Miso pulls a youngish, clubby clientele more than a sports crowd.’
    • ‘I can't afford to have bands who won't pull the crowds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Although predominantly a haunt of the over-35s, the Judges pulls a surprisingly diverse crowd.’
    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
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    1. 3.1British informal Succeed in attracting sexually.
      ‘I used my sense of humour to pull girls’
      • ‘True, it is risky going on the pull in pretentious nightclubs if you are blind: you might just pull an ugly sister.’
      • ‘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?’
    2. 3.2informal 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.’
      • ‘The lefties on this site are pulling a classic liberal trick.’
      commit, carry out, perform, execute, do, effect, bring about, be guilty of, be to blame for, be responsible for, accomplish, inflict, wreak
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  • 4informal Cancel or withdraw (an entertainment or advertisement)

    ‘the gig was pulled at the first sign of difficulty’
    • ‘Insurer Standard Life really should pull those smug, glossy television advertisements it is running.’
    • ‘It considered pulling a huge advertising splurge for Martell in the US due to the boycott threats.’
    • ‘An attempt to float the company for around £750m in 1999 was pulled due to lack of market interest.’
    • ‘You claim that when Ford pulled its adverts it had no effect.’
    • ‘By the time we got there, the entire site has been pulled, presumably by the school authorities.’
    • ‘A radio advert has been pulled from the airwaves after complaints that it caused offence to disabled people.’
    1. 4.1North American Withdraw or disqualify (a player) from a game.
      ‘four of the leading eight runners were pulled’
      • ‘He pulled a player for making a mistake, chewed him out, then hugged him around the neck and kissed him on the cheek.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They know that I do not pull players because of bad play - only because of bad attitudes.’
      • ‘He has shown he will pull any player who has a defensive lapse.’
    2. 4.2 Arrest.
      ‘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
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    3. 4.3 Check 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.’
  • 5Cricket
    Play (the ball) round to the leg side from the off.

    • ‘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’
    • ‘He pulled his first ball for four, and proceeded to hit every shot thereafter as hard as he could.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After pulling the ball over midwicket, Cairns showed he was no one-trick pony.’
    1. 5.1Baseball Golf 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).
      • ‘This can cause any number of errors, such as pulling the ball to the left or hitting it thin.’
      • ‘If you swing down steeply and then follow through flat, you're likely to slice or pull the ball.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A left-handed hitter pulls a single to right field, scoring the runner from second and sending the other to third.’
  • 6American 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’
    • ‘The key to success has been the ability of the team's athletic linemen to pull and clear room for the back.’
    • ‘This means, that if the line is pulling from behind, the release will be angled that way.’
    • ‘Mahan is excellent at getting off the line, pulling and blocking past the line.’
    • ‘With the linemen pulling, there always is one defender who is unblocked.’
    • ‘Supposedly Martin managed to retain his agility as he put on weight, which should help him in pulling and getting out to block linebackers.’
  • 7Print (a proof).

    • ‘Two proofs have been pulled and are propped side by side.’
    • ‘A proof sheet would be pulled, and read against the manuscript.’
    set in print, send to press, run off, preprint, reprint, 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With a quick pull she managed to get a few chunks of hair on either side to fall out.’
    • ‘From what I saw, it looked more like an accidental contact than a blatant pull across the head.’
    • ‘He gave it a quick pull to make sure it was secure.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She reached out, she grabbed my hand, and with a quick pull I got her back to her feet.’
    • ‘With a quick pull of the reins, they headed back towards Benson Manor.’
    • ‘He gave a mighty pull and - look there - wiggling on the end of his tweezers was my beautiful nerve ending.’
    • ‘Finish the pull with a quick rotation to clear the shoulder and arm for the first recovery.’
    tug, haul, jerk, heave
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    1. 1.1 A handle to hold while pulling.
      ‘the car didn't have external door handles, just pulls inside’
      • ‘Made of 1800 denier polyester, it has a retractable pull handle and inline skate wheels.’
      • ‘Other highlights include handstitched doorknobs and door levers and a wide range of cabinet pulls and knobs.’
      • ‘Many of these actuators were simple levers or wire pulls, none of which had any means to prevent unauthorised operation.’
      • ‘She fell off my dresser and her back leg got caught in my drawer pull and she fractured her foot.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you're careful you can measure to locate holes for pulls and knobs.’
      • ‘The Avenger is a double roller bag with polyester construction and a retractable metal pull handle.’
      • ‘Or the crown moulding or the fancy new Lutron dimmers or the under-the-cabinet lights or even the drawer pulls.’
      • ‘Leather drawer and door pulls add a luxury touch to practical hardware.’
      • ‘They have beautiful double-action trigger pulls and are remarkably accurate.’
      • ‘With the plane disintegrating around him, O'Grady reached down between his knees and grabbed the pull handle of his ejection seat.’
      • ‘The jewelry designer fashioned a copper sink, some light fixtures, and drawer pulls, and she tiled one of the baths.’
      • ‘Taking safety seriously whilst wearing a lifejacket, be aware of where the manual pull handle is, even if it is ‘automatic’.’
      • ‘Purchased doorknobs and drawer pulls from specialty hardware store.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In addition to the pulls and knobs themselves, there are also backer plates, which sit behind the pull or knob.’
      • ‘It was based on the Bar X type, but in a casino cabinet with a pull handle.’
      • ‘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.’
      handle, grip, switch, joystick, key, knob
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    2. 1.2 A deep draught of a drink.
      ‘he unscrewed the cap from the flask and took another pull’
      • ‘She takes a deep pull and starts coughing really hard and laughing at the same time.’
      • ‘Did she hide bottles in the garden or the lavatory cistern and take a sneaky pull when she thought no one was looking?’
      • ‘She looked at him and took a long pull of her drink.’
      • ‘He kept the drink at his lips for an extra pull, feeling the alcohol burn a path from his tongue to his stomach.’
      • ‘Tahr took a pull of her drink, then stared at it as if wishing it were something stronger.’
      gulp, draught, drink, swallow, mouthful, sip, sup
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    3. 1.3 An act of inhaling while smoking a pipe, cigarette, or cigar.
      ‘he took a pull on his cheroot’
      • ‘While waiting for a bus, remove a cigarette from pack and proceed to light. After taking 3 pulls, your bus should be there…!’
      • ‘Black & Mild cigars tasted a lot like black coffee from the initial pull.’
      • ‘WIM takes a pull from a handmade cigarette, scoops the bones up without looking, then casts them again.’
      • ‘He laughed a little, putting the pipe back in his mouth for a long pull.’
      • ‘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. 1.5 An injury to a muscle or ligament caused by abnormal strain.
      ‘he was ruled out of the game with a hamstring pull’
      • ‘Owen's biggest challenge might be avoiding hamstring muscle pulls, which have plagued him during his short career.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Avoid jerking or bouncing as it can lead to strains, pulls and other kinds of injuries.’
      • ‘I've learned this lesson the hard way after several strains and pulls.’
      • ‘Muscle pulls are rarely serious, unless they occur in a vulnerable area, such as the hamstring.’
      • ‘Embrace the pain - so long as it's not caused by a real injury, like a muscle pull.’
      • ‘The result has been few problems with hamstring pulls, rib-cage injuries and shoulder strains.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A proper warm-up literally warms and lubricates the muscles, thereby greatly reducing the risk of pulls and strains.’
      • ‘I want to make the point that the feeling of the muscle pull is nothing like the increasing fatigue of running.’
      • ‘He got more bruises and cuts, muscle pulls and strains than he could remember.’
      • ‘However, Andres had to overcome two serious injuries, the first of which was a hamstring pull.’
      • ‘He has worked diligently on his conditioning, hoping to prevent muscle pulls and strains, which have hampered him during the season.’
      • ‘Half way through the fourth, Palmer suffered a muscle pull and surrendered effectively at that point.’
      • ‘This afternoon, with almost half his squad involved in matches, he will face a tense wait for news of groin strains and hamstring pulls.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 saw the mechanics and the leg drive - not the hamstring pulls or the shoulder injury.’
      • ‘Patients frequently have a history of a minor injury, sprain or muscle pull incurred while participating in a sport.’
  • 2in singular A force drawing someone or something in a particular direction.

    ‘the pull of the water tore her away’
    figurative ‘the pull of her home town was a strong one’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Then its own ion engine will take it, gradually, into bigger and bigger orbits, until the gravitational pull of the Moon takes over.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now we have left the gravitational pull of the Earth.’
    • ‘That unexpectedly collapses it into a black hole, a supermassive region with a gravitational pull so strong not even light can escape.’
    • ‘The moon feels the gravitational pull of not only Earth but also the sun.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Sun, Earth and Moon were in alignment, which increased the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon on the Earth.’
    • ‘So why is the gravitational pull downward stronger than ever before?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But as we haul ourselves against the pull of gravity and into the 21st century, we continue to have misgivings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The most familiar form of potential energy involves the pull of Earth's gravity.’
    • ‘Now they've found that the centrifugal force of a spinning ring balances the pull of gravity all by itself.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The gravitational pull of the Moon provides the twice-daily tides on Earth as Earth spins under the Moon.’
    tug, towing, haul, 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’
      • ‘Not exclusively, of course, but the monochromatic examples exerted a considerable pull.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then his eyes slid over to Damien's discarded weapon, drawn irresistibly by an invisible pull.’
      • ‘The paintings exert an almost palpable pull, urging you closer.’
      • ‘The European Union has become a gigantic political and economic magnet whose greatest strength is the attractive pull it exerts on its neighbors.’
      • ‘After all, we're an island nation on whom the sea exerts an irresistible pull.’
      • ‘Despite his track record Davies admits to being in awe of Doctor Zhivago, largely because the 1965 film version still exerts such a pull.’
      • ‘But there is also an internal pull, drawing men and women to embrace a label they might once have eschewed.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, it demonstrates the pull a curator can exert on an exhibition.’
      • ‘There's an insistent rough-edged energy to Dude which exerts a physical pull that I find wholly appealing.’
      • ‘He will probably be unable to counter such a pull before the instability is established.’
      • ‘From the bedroom, Essence of Persimmon exerts a magnetic pull I can feel in my chest.’
      • ‘Henry Street continues to exert a strong pull, attracting more shoppers than Grafton Street at all peak shopping periods this quarter.’
      • ‘She never conveys the emotional pull Sondheim exerts on some of us.’
      • ‘The Maltese are devout Catholics and the church exerts a strong pull.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Stacey felt a pull of attraction she tried to ignore.’
      • ‘It's an odd pull that land of cactus and mesquite exerts on those of us born to it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘Subsequently peer pressure and blackmail of friendship are often major contributing pull factors.’
      • ‘When it comes to things like videos, major labels have a lot of pull, where independent labels are pretty much blackballed.’
      • ‘People without his political pull have spent years futilely trying to clear their names.’
      • ‘In retrospect, I think one of the things we didn't have is that we didn't have any political pull.’
      • ‘The psalm-singing donkey bishop has political pull.’
      • ‘Smaller companies without political pull will be liquidated if they don't fill the quota; larger companies will be left alone.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A minor group in Kurdistan with little real pull or power.’
      • ‘The smaller outfits will simply never have the political pull or advertising budget of the big guys.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In both cases White's Bishops should give him some pull.’
      • ‘The hereditary peers aren't the only ones with pull.’
      • ‘The High Commands of both countries were dominated by the old traditional cavalry regiments and their political pull was great.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘He has Southern charm, a Southern drawl and maybe some Southern pull.’
      • ‘While the UK is number one in European biotechnology, there is far less market pull, especially within healthcare, in Europe compared with the US.’
      • ‘Our young men are also susceptible to the media's pull.’
      • ‘The cold reality is that boaters have absolutely zero political 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’
      • ‘I remember now why I'm not interested in going 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.’
      • ‘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.

    • ‘He possesses a mean pull stroke, and does use his feet to the spinners, often clearing the ground in a jiffy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Proficient with all strokes, his best scoring stroke was the pull, played all along the ground between mid on to backward square leg.’
    • ‘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.

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


  • like pulling teeth

    • informal Used to convey that something is extremely difficult to do.

      ‘it had been like pulling teeth to extract these two small items from Moore’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Before his career took off, pulling girls was like pulling teeth.’
      • ‘However, you can make no excuse for the fact that - and the police have said this - that it was like pulling teeth from him.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's like pulling teeth to get me to show such emotions.’
      • ‘Each revision is like pulling teeth, or like exercise.’
      • ‘We did the show in Toronto and it was like pulling teeth to get people to participate.’
  • pull one's head in

    • informal Mind one's own business.

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

    • Deceive someone playfully; tease someone.

      ‘getting married—are you pulling my leg?’
      • ‘I thought she was pulling my leg - until he arrived on my doorstep.’
      • ‘When they called to tell us we'd won, I thought they were pulling my leg.’
      • ‘The most skeptical responses, also unsurprisingly, were in Toronto, where everyone thought I was pulling their leg.’
      • ‘Someone who doesn't know anything is pulling your leg.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He said friends and colleagues had pulled his leg about the attention he received as a result of the rescue.’
      • ‘They think you're pulling their leg, having a joke.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Unless of course the guy who told me these things was pulling my leg.’
      tease, fool, play a trick on, make fun of, joke with, rag, chaff, twit, pull the wool over someone's eyes
      tease, rag, make fun of, chaff, trick, joke with, play a joke on, play a trick on, play a practical joke on, taunt, jest
      View synonyms
  • pull the other one (it's got bells on)

    • 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!’
      • ‘As they don't say in Finland: pull the other one, it's got bells on it.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Those big and burly beer drinking men would laugh deep and hard at hearing this, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah… pull the other one!’’
      • ‘Sure, sure, yeah, pull the other one kid, it has got bells on.’
      • ‘Here I say pull the other one matey, who are you trying to kid?’
      • ‘Or, as we tend to say these days: pull the other one, Nasser, it's got bells on.’
      • ‘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…’
      • ‘Yeah, right, pull the other one Michael, we all know it's just another of your loony affectations.’
  • pull the plug

    • informal Prevent something from happening or continuing.

      ‘the company pulled the plug on the deal’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      discontinue, wind up, stop, end, terminate, abort, bring to an end, put an end to, put a stop to, finish, bring to a halt, call a halt to, cancel, drop, dispense with, do away with, get rid of, abolish
      View synonyms
  • pull (one's) punches

    • usually with negativeBe less forceful, severe, or violent than one could be.

      ‘a smooth-tongued critic who doesn't pull his punches’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Minority Democrats on that committee are powerless to push the issue, and Democrats generally are pulling their punches.’
      • ‘That's not to say that our aging pair of (now slightly dowdy) French rascals are going to be pulling their punches at all.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘Either this has not been thought through properly, or someone is pulling strings to ensure a head start at the elections in September 2003.’
      • ‘The only magic is councillors pulling strings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She did him her best turns later on when she got her influential lovers to pull strings for him.’
      • ‘One interesting character is the morally ambiguous mastermind Mr Haddon, who pulls strings behind the scenes and gives Ellie most of her funding.’
      • ‘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.’
      arrange, organize, contrive, sort out, see to, see about
      View synonyms
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's not the employees, it's the Government that is pulling the strings of employers.’
      • ‘‘It's hard when someone pulls the strings,’ he added.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘You may have pulled the strings of a Government which has led a country to collapse?’
      • ‘The British Council board has always been a good indicator of who pulls the strings.’
      • ‘The algorithm is clear - the real leader formally gets into the reserve forces but actually pulls the strings behind the curtain.’
      • ‘In his view, this will make it possible for the ruling majority to pull the strings of the supervisory body.’
      • ‘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.’
      manage, direct, control, operate, regulate, conduct, handle, run, orchestrate, organize, supervise, superintend, oversee, preside over, boss, be the boss of, govern, rule, administer, lead, head, guide, steer, pilot
      View synonyms
  • pull together

    • Cooperate in a task or undertaking.

      ‘employees and managers began to pull together as a team’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hopefully, with a little work, the team can pull together in the future.’
      • ‘It was imperative that the community pulled together and co-operated in the future development of the area.’
      • ‘Young players and weathered campaigners pulled together as a force that was more than a team.’
      • ‘We will all pull together as a team and give 100 per cent commitment, that's for sure.’
      • ‘So much for collective responsibility, of a team and their manager pulling together at a moment of crisis.’
      • ‘Some dramatic events make the groups pull together as teams, and some timely remarks make them take a closer look at their lives.’
      • ‘I think it does show that we can get along and that we can live together and work together and pull together.’
      • ‘The community has already started to pull together to support the club.’
      • ‘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.’
      collaborate, cooperate, work together, work side by side, act together, act jointly, band together, come together, get together, join forces, team up, unite, combine, merge, amalgamate, pool resources, club together, make common cause, form an alliance
      View synonyms
  • 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.’
      • ‘He stopped going to work, he stopped pulling himself together to face the week like a normal person.’
      • ‘After several minutes of hysterics he pulls himself together and approaches Lena.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This gave her a chance to recover, a chance to pull herself together.’
      • ‘They embrace over a tureen of soup then she pulls herself together to sing I'm Just a Dope Who is Stuck on Hope.’
      • ‘I tried to pull myself together because I knew Karl would be out of the recovery room soon.’
      • ‘She couldn't even stand up straight and she had to stop a few times, as if pulling herself together.’
      • ‘But he gives her credit for pulling herself together quickly.’
      • ‘But the show must go on, so Ross pulls himself together and rises to complete his snivelling soliloquy.’
      regain one's composure, regain one's self-control, regain control of one's emotions, recover, get a grip on oneself, get a hold on oneself, get over it, become one's old self
      View synonyms
  • pull one's weight

    • Do one's fair share of work.

      ‘he must pull his weight or leave’
      • ‘In order for a team or group to be successful everyone must work hard, in unison, and pull their weight.’
      • ‘The public is disenchanted with the parliament's performance thus far and has the impression too many MSPs are not pulling their weight.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • pull wires

    • Make use of one's influence and contacts to gain an advantage unofficially or unfairly.

Phrasal Verbs

  • pull back (or pull someone/something back)

    • 1Retreat or cause troops to retreat from an area.

      ‘the pact called on the rival forces to pull back and allow a neutral force to take control’
      • ‘‘As we start to trust each other a little more, most troops will be pulled back and returned to their barracks,’ he said.’
      • ‘South Korean and Bulgarian troops were pulled back to their bases, while New Zealand is withdrawing its engineers.’
      • ‘At that point, the division headquarters and support troops were pulled back to refit.’
      • ‘If British troops were pulled back now what then?’
      • ‘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.’
      withdraw, retreat, draw back, fall back, retire, disengage, pull out, back off, give ground, give way
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Withdraw 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.’
        • ‘‘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.’
        • ‘He ‘would not be party’ to pulling back from war, the Prime Minister stated.’
        withdraw, resign, leave, retire, step down, get out, quit, back out, bow out
        View synonyms
    • 2(in sport) improve or restore a team's position by scoring a goal.

      ‘he pulled back a goal three minutes before half time’
      ‘Rovers pulled back to 4–3 with a goal two minutes from time’
      • ‘Denholme pulled a goal back late in the game but it was little consolation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Victoria pulled a goal back but Lee scored his second of the match to increase the lead to 3-1.’
      • ‘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.’
  • pull something down

    • 1Demolish a building.

      ‘the house was pulled down and the site redeveloped’
      • ‘As the wondrously ugly 1960 buildings are pulled down, beautiful Bradford is re-emerging.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Poorly designed office blocks could be pulled down and more landmark buildings erected to add to the town's famous glass pyramid and viaduct.’
      demolish, knock down, take down, tear down, dismantle, raze, raze to the ground, level, flatten, bulldoze, destroy, lay waste
      View synonyms
    • 2Earn a sum of money.

      ‘he was pulling down sixty grand a year’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘Bate once more pulled down $100,000 for his 30 hours a week.’
      produce, bear, give, supply, provide, afford, return, bring in, pull in, haul in, gather in, fetch, earn, net, realize, generate, furnish, bestow, pay out, contribute
      View synonyms
  • pull in

    • 1(of a vehicle) move to the side of or off the road.

      ‘he pulled in at the kerb’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As I pulled in to the side of the road, the crisis quickly vanished.’
      stop, halt, come to a halt, come to a stop, park, arrive, pull over, draw in, draw up
      View synonyms
    • 2(of a bus or train) arrive to take passengers.

      ‘he was ready and waiting half an hour before the express pulled in’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’’
      • ‘There is a 30-minute wait standing in the cold on Platform 3 before the train finally pulls in at 3.45 pm.’
      • ‘Westminster station is unusually busy, and when the Richmond train pulls in, there's nowhere to sit.’
      • ‘A train pulls in to the Angus ‘ghost’ station early in the morning and another calls late at night.’
      stop, halt, come to a halt, come to a stop, park, arrive, pull over, draw in, draw up
      View synonyms
  • pull someone/something in

    • 1Succeed in securing or obtaining something.

      ‘the party pulled in 10 per cent of the vote’
      • ‘The host didn't pull in huge numbers in the U.S., but it pulled in enough attention.’
      • ‘His notoriety pulled in enough votes – more than 52,000 — to secure a ballot line in future elections.’
      1. 1.1informal Earn a 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.’
        earn, be paid, make, get, bring in, rake in, clear, collect, net, gross, pocket, take home
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    • 2Arrest 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
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    • 3Use reins to check a 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.’
      • ‘Trek grabbed some mane, and the reins, pulling them in.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The same thing happened to this story about the Football Association pulling the reins in on Fanzine reporting of fixtures lists.’
      • ‘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 something off

    • Succeed in achieving or winning something difficult.

      ‘he pulled off a brilliant first round win’
      • ‘They can play a whole set of completely new material and still pull it off.’
      • ‘Mr Ahern may have difficulty in pulling this trick off.’
      • ‘These four albums will show you why he simultaneously succeeded and failed to pull it off.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The thought of it is enough to make you wince, but the performers are skilled enough to pull it off.’
      achieve, fulfil, succeed in, accomplish, bring off, bring about, carry out, carry off, execute, perform, perpetrate, discharge, complete, conduct, negotiate, clinch, work out, fix, effect, establish, engineer
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  • pull out

    • 1Withdraw from an undertaking.

      ‘he was forced to pull out of the championship because of an injury’
      • ‘Hunter was forced to pull out of the Games and take early retirement.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      withdraw, resign, leave, retire, step down, get out, quit, back out, bow out
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      1. 1.1Retreat or cause to retreat from an area.
        ‘the army pulled out, leaving the city in ruins’
        ‘the CIA had pulled its operatives out of Tripoli’
        • ‘The President pulled them out and went to war anyway, over their objections.’
        • ‘Pictures of hunger in Somalia beckoned U.S. troops in, pictures of American soldiers in 1993 pulled us out.’
        • ‘The military had been sent to keep martial law, but because of the wars, they were pulled out.’
        • ‘He pulled England out its wars and ruthlessly cracked down on social dissent.’
        • ‘It sparked a revolution - and a second in October pulled Russia out of the war.’
        withdraw, retreat, draw back, fall back, retire, disengage, pull out, back off, give ground, give way
        retreat from, leave, quit, abandon, give up, stop participating in, get out of, back out of, bow out of, renege on
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    • 2(of a bus or train) leave with its passengers.

      ‘the train pulled out of the station at 2.05’
      • ‘As the train pulled out of Winchester, he staggered to his feet and zig-zagged down the carriage to the toilet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I watched helplessly as my train pulled out of the station.’
      • ‘The doors closed and the train pulled out of the station.’
    • 3(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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We trooped back into the car and Ken pulled out onto the road so fast that the tyres screeched in protest.’
  • pull over

    • (of a vehicle) move to the side of or off the road.

      ‘I decided to pull over on to the hard shoulder’
      • ‘Unable to drive properly while laughing, Derek pulled over to the side of the road to settle down.’
      • ‘Currently, lorries pull over on the side of the road to unload and traffic passes around them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If in any case your radiator overheats while you are stuck in traffic, the best thing to do is pull over and stop.’
      stop, halt, come to a halt, come to a stop, pull in, pull off the road, draw in, park, arrive, draw up
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  • pull someone over

    • (of the police) cause a driver to pull off the road.

      ‘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.’
      • ‘I'm the police officer who pulled you over once because one of your taillights were out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Police pulled him over and administered a breathalyser test, which he failed.’
      • ‘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.’
  • pull round

    • Recover from an illness.

      ‘he was beginning to pull round after his operation’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      recuperate, get better, get well, convalesce, regain one's strength, regain one's health, get stronger, get back on one's feet, feel oneself again, get back to normal, return to health
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  • pull through (or pull someone/something through)

    • Get through an illness or other dangerous or difficult situation.

      ‘the illness is difficult to overcome, but we hope she'll pull through’
      • ‘It gave them something sure to hold on to, to pull them through all the danger and hardship.’
      • ‘I only hoped it would be enough to pull me through this situation.’
      • ‘If you don't let them know that there's hope, they won't pull it through.’
      • ‘If you find yourself in a position where you hope for luck to pull you through, you're in serious trouble.’
      • ‘He lived with me in the first year and pulled me through all the difficult moments.’
      get better, get well again, improve, recover, rally, survive, come through, recuperate
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  • pull up

    • 1(of a vehicle) come to a halt.

      ‘he pulled up outside the cottage’
      • ‘She was gobsmacked when the limo pulled up outside her home in Tattershall, Toothill.’
      • ‘Then I heard cars, and I turned to see a caravan of vehicles pulling up behind mine.’
      • ‘When a police vehicle pulls up youngsters hide in the bushes.’
      • ‘If I remember correctly, it was the sound of the ice-cream van pulling up outside my house.’
      • ‘Sasha would pull up in whatever vehicle they were able to steal and they would load up as much as they could carry.’
      stop, draw up, come to a halt, come to a stop, halt, come to a standstill, brake, park
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    • 2Increase the altitude of an aircraft.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So low in fact, that the pilots had to pull up slightly to get the plane on the runway!’
      • ‘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.’
  • pull someone up

    • 1Cause 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We only moved on a few short steps before I stopped and pulled us up sharp.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He pulled her up short as he spotted a buggy approaching at a reckless speed.’
      1. 1.1British Reprimand someone.
        ‘she never failed to pull us up and tell us to stop’
        • ‘The honourable member for Grayndler was pulled up for using the term bigot.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘I wish I had pulled her up on it, rather than simply accepting it.’
        • ‘Father would quiz us constantly and if we did not know the answers, we would be pulled up sharply.’
        reprimand, rebuke, scold, chide, chastise, upbraid, berate, castigate, reprove, reproach, censure, take to task, tear into, admonish, lecture, lambaste, read someone the riot act, haul over the coals
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Old English pullian ‘pluck, snatch’; origin uncertain; the sense has developed from expressing a short sharp action to one of sustained force.