Definition of pull in English:



  • 1[usually with adverbial] Exert force on (someone or something), typically by taking hold of them, in order to move or try to move them toward oneself or the origin of the force.

    ‘he pulled them down onto the couch’
    [with object and complement] ‘I pulled the door shut behind me’
    [no object] ‘the little boy pulled at her skirt’
    • ‘Finola grabbed both Scempt and Maylin's wrists and pulled them towards the door.’
    • ‘Blair walked around the car and tried to pull Jim toward the door of their building.’
    • ‘She starts pulling me towards the door and I am forced to follow.’
    • ‘The bell rang again, and with a growl, Jessi stumbled towards the door and pulled it open.’
    • ‘I seized his arm with both hands and began pulling him towards the door.’
    • ‘Quietly he moved towards the door, pulling it open just enough for him to squeeze through.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She turned the giant clear doorknob on the heavy front door and forcefully pulled it towards herself.’
    • ‘He did not wait for an answer before grabbing her hand and beginning to pull her 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She grabbed Jack by the hand and tried to pull him towards the direction of Ayers Rock.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Two men jumped out of the vehicle, grabbing Alan's arms as they pulled him towards the car.’
    • ‘Someone in front of her grabbed her and started pulling her towards the door.’
    • ‘He cheered her on, pulling her towards his car, a brand new, red Corvette.’
    • ‘He grabs my right hand and gently pulls me towards the door.’
    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’
      • ‘Crouching in the shadows, he watched silently as the beast pulled a wagon away down the street.’
      • ‘The horse started pulling the cart up the long cobbled driveway.’
      • ‘Just five or ten years ago, the potato men would have come down this street in a wooden wagon pulled by a horse.’
      • ‘Then out of nowhere came the sound of a cart being pulled by heavy horses.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Animal lover Mrs Trueman's funeral carriage was pulled by the horses used in the recent funeral of East End gangster Reggie Kray.’
      • ‘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 the carriage suddenly took fright for no apparent reason, snapped the traces and bolted off, startling both the hosts and their guest of honour.’
      • ‘Waka, the Clydesdale horse pulls a wagon over a hundred years old, and the driver gives a commentary as you travel.’
      • ‘There, cows and geese sway and horses pull carts past old men who sit motionless in the shade of a few broad trees.’
      • ‘Out in the street a horse pulled its abandoned cart, oblivious to the disturbance.’
      • ‘Two horses were pulling the carriage but Jok was not guiding them.’
      • ‘The horses pulling his carriage bolted and the carriage was left hanging over a bridge above the river Seine.’
      • ‘The simple wooden carriage was pulled by two horses, and was ridden by one lone figure.’
      • ‘Overworked horses pulling carriages laden with tourists trot frantically up the hill as the fierce morning sun beats down.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Originally operated by the Royal Navy, in Fulham, the vehicle pulled trailers filled with torpedoes.’
      • ‘The confusion, it seems, is because the horses pulling the royal carriage procession are being stabled at Imphal Barracks.’
    2. 1.2 Take hold of and exert force on (something) so as to move it from a specified position or in a specified direction.
      ‘she pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket’
      ‘he pulled on his boots’
      ‘I pulled up some onions’
      • ‘If the bead is screwed in place, remove the screws and pull it out with pliers.’
      • ‘I pulled out a comb and brushed my hair.’
      • ‘Tricia opened the fridge and pulled out a carton of milk, then pulled a saucer out of a cabinet.’
      • ‘She pulls a couple of chairs up to the window.’
      • ‘Instead, an extractor pulls empties from the chamber just far enough to allow you to grip and remove them.’
      • ‘The coleoptile could then be removed by carefully pulling it away from the kernel between the thumb and the forefinger.’
      • ‘I turned around towards the door, pulling my spare key out of my purse and unlocking it, walking inside.’
      • ‘Trev went back to the bedroom to pull on clothes as Ford pulled the pizza box out of the fridge.’
      • ‘An extractor pulls empty cases part way from the chamber, where they can be removed with your fingers.’
      • ‘She removed her hat and pulled the hair pins from her hair and let it hang loose down her back.’
      • ‘At the bottom of the lever's stroke, the extractor pulls the spent cartridge partially from the chamber.’
      • ‘My hands trembling, I fumbled to remove my shoes and pull the boots on over my stockings.’
      • ‘‘We were supposedly to pull a name out of the hat as part of a game and I pulled out his,’ recalls Rona.’
      • ‘After brushing her teeth, she pulled the pins from her hair, letting it fall in waves down to her hips.’
      • ‘From behind his back, he pulled out a menu like he was a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat.’
      • ‘Stumbling to her dresser, she pulled out the first things she saw and pulled them on.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      pull out, draw out, take out, extract, remove, root out
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    3. 1.3informal Bring out (a weapon) to attack or threaten someone.
      ‘it's not every day a young woman pulls a gun on a burglar’
      • ‘Cops claim he pulled a rifle on them when they were in his town house, allegedly looking for 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?’
      take out, draw, pull, draw out, bring out, get out, withdraw, fish out, produce
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    4. 1.4pull at/on[no object] Inhale deeply while smoking (a pipe or cigar)
      • ‘He took a pull at his pipe.’
      • ‘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.’
    5. 1.5 Damage (a muscle, ligament, etc.) by abnormal strain.
      • ‘Pleasurable when you get there but try not to pull a muscle or strain something else trying to saddle up.’
      • ‘Whether a rolled ankle, a torn ligament or a pulled muscle, rare is the athlete who has not had to battle through physical pain.’
      • ‘You see a lot more strains and pulled muscles that can end up hampering the player all year long.’
      • ‘She refused and subsequently suffered injuries to her shoulder, pulled muscles and bruises.’
      • ‘I knew someone who pulled both their hamstring muscles because they didn't stretch.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She felt like she had a back strain or pulled ligament in her right side above her hip.’
      • ‘The Jets weren't going to suffer a mass of broken bones, torn ligaments and pulled muscles on his watch.’
      • ‘Which means that this winter promises to be a blur of pounding damp London streets, probable pulled groin muscles and blisters.’
      • ‘Pain throbbed in pulled muscles and throughout a multitude of new cuts, bruises and scratches.’
      • ‘When you're a trainer in the lower minors, you do more than tend to ankle sprains and pulled muscles.’
      • ‘This was no pulled muscle, Ivan thought as he crumpled against the doorway he had just walked through.’
      • ‘He banged his head on the way over, hated the ground and did the splits over the first fence, pulling all the muscles in his chest.’
      • ‘You guys must all paddle the same and all overcompensate somehow to have pulled that muscle.’
      • ‘Wright might not be able to start the opener because of a pulled stomach muscle.’
      • ‘The cramps possibly were a side effect of a pulled muscle suffered in winter ball last year.’
      • ‘Flexible muscles are far less likely to be strained or pulled than tight ones.’
      • ‘When strain is put on the knee, the muscles around the kneecap can be pulled.’
      • ‘Broken noses, bad backs and pulled muscles seemed to lie everywhere.’
      • ‘He rubbed at his neck, the pulled muscle had caused him agony all night but he hadn't dared to show it.’
      strain, sprain, turn, wrench, rick, stretch, tear
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    6. 1.6 Print (a proof)
      • ‘A proof sheet would be pulled, and read against the manuscript.’
      • ‘Two proofs have been pulled and are propped side by side.’
      set in print, send to press, run off, preprint, reprint, proof, copy, reproduce
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    7. 1.7Computing 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.’
  • 2[no object] (of a vehicle or person) move steadily in a specified direction or to reach a specified point.

    ‘the bus was about to pull away’
    ‘the boy pulled ahead and disappeared around the corner’
    • ‘With a no nonsense attitude, the Captain pinned his ears and steadily pulled away to win by three.’
    • ‘This process plays out a bit like cars on the interstate: Eventually a pack of Maseratis will pull ahead as the Pintos fall back.’
    • ‘Europe's benchmark stock indexes have lagged comparable US measures this year, but they may soon start to pull ahead.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We finally pulled ahead of her at one of the no-lane free-for-alls after the toll booth.’
    • ‘His tractor was ‘breaking traction’ but was moving so he kept pulling ahead as the car was coming closer.’
    • ‘As the United States pulls farther and farther ahead of Europe economically, this idea appears more and more perverse.’
    • ‘His chance to move up the field came as those ahead started pulling into the pits for the obligatory wheel change.’
    • ‘The effect of his outburst is happily plain to see in the latest opinion poll showing Labour pulling ahead of the Tories.’
    • ‘They pulled further ahead when Stark wrong-footed the home defence with a cross field run which fooled everyone.’
    • ‘What's going on is that Tesco's is pulling further ahead and Sainsbury's is catching up.’
    • ‘Hawks pulled further ahead when scrummaging with only seven men.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Figures released today showed that while sales pulled ahead for most of May, the rain curbed shoppers' enthusiasm.’
    • ‘Having stopped the rot and prevented Hearts pulling any further ahead of them, the next task is pegging them back.’
    • ‘It didn't take long for the boys to start pulling away.’
    • ‘Kenmare pulled ahead by three points with another point from a free.’
    • ‘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 two crews were neck and neck at the half-way stage before York started to pull ahead to give themselves a half-length lead with 500m to go.’
    1. 2.1pull oneself[with adverbial of direction] Move in a specified direction with effort, especially by taking hold of something and exerting force.
      ‘he pulled himself into the saddle’
      • ‘Balou, in very critical condition had somehow managed to crawl home, pulling himself by his front paws.’
      • ‘‘Grab a hold of the edges and pull yourself up,’ Sean explained.’
      • ‘As he swung away he used a bit of the excess force to pull himself up.’
      • ‘I startle myself when I wrap my arms around Shane's neck, pulling myself forward towards the edge of the car as I do so.’
      • ‘I put a great amount of effort into pulling myself up into a sitting position, but that didn't make my whereabouts any clearer.’
      • ‘With an effort, she pulled herself upright, weaving through the crowd.’
      • ‘I scurried up and crawled into bed, pulling myself under the comfortable covers.’
      • ‘Alex reached out and grabbed the side of the opening, pulling himself forward with effort.’
      • ‘It took them an hour to move an inch up that pipe; pulling themselves along via their chins.’
      • ‘Marc moved his leg gingerly and with great effort pulled himself to his feet.’
      • ‘Typically, developing children sit up, crawl, pull themselves up, then toddle.’
      • ‘He got his leg over the top, and started to pull himself up as he crawled forward.’
      • ‘Once I relaxed and started to pull myself upward, I slid through the gap easily.’
      • ‘One more effort like that to pull himself along the ground would finish him.’
      • ‘He could then pull himself up by fractions of an inch at a time.’
      • ‘With no small effort, the helicopter pulls itself 25 ft in the air and reveals that the horizon line is no longer a line at all but a squiggle drawn from 30,000 people standing in a row.’
      • ‘With effort the turtle pulls himself over the ledge and then rests a moment.’
      • ‘With great effort, she pulled herself back and slid her sword back against his blade.’
      • ‘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.’
      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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    2. 2.2 Move one's body in a specified direction, especially against resistance.
      ‘she tried to pull away from him’
      • ‘He didn't make a move to stop her or pull away from her.’
      • ‘He tried to pull away from the men but he could not.’
      • ‘A chill descends down my spine as I pull away from the Caddy.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 2.3 (of an engine) exert propulsive force; deliver power.
      ‘the engine warmed up quickly and pulled well’
      • ‘The fact that the rumble from those slash cut exhausts sounds most impressive when the engine's pulling from low revs might have had something to do with it…’
      • ‘That the engine pulls firmly, with a creamy, discreet blare, across a broad rev-range helps.’
      • ‘However, power is abundant, particularly from 3000 rpm upwards when the engine pulls particularly strongly, making it feel more like a petrol.’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 2.4 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’
      • ‘The breeze that filled the sail died down; they furled the sail and lowered the mast; then, once again, they pulled at the oars.’
      • ‘Heading the little boat toward land the men pulled at the oars till nearly noon.’
      • ‘In rowing, if you look like you're pulling hard you're not rowing the boat as efficiently as you can be.’
  • 3Cause (someone) to patronize, buy, or show interest in something; attract.

    ‘tourist attractions that pull in millions of foreign visitors’
    • ‘Although predominantly a haunt of the over-35s, the Judges pulls a surprisingly diverse crowd.’
    • ‘Although it has a large-screen TV, Miso pulls a youngish, clubby clientele more than a sports crowd.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    attract, draw, pull, bring in, lure, charm, engage, enchant, captivate, bewitch, seduce, catch the eye of, entice, tempt, beckon, interest, fascinate
    attract, draw, pull in, bring in, lure, charm, engage, enchant, captivate, bewitch, seduce, catch the eye of, entice, tempt, beckon, interest, fascinate
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    1. 3.1informal Carry out or achieve (something requiring skill, luck, or planning)
      ‘the magazine pulled its trick of producing the right issue at the right time’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The riot was a dirty trick which was pulled off through the use of deception, and Bloggergate is the same thing.’
      • ‘Then we had the Minister pull the dirtiest trick I have seen in the parliamentary process in 30 years.’
      • ‘We skated there for a while and everyone seemed to be pulling the newest tricks.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘By the time we got there, the entire site has been pulled, presumably by the school authorities.’
    • ‘You claim that when Ford pulled its adverts it had no effect.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Insurer Standard Life really should pull those smug, glossy television advertisements it is running.’
    • ‘A radio advert has been pulled from the airwaves after complaints that it caused offence to disabled people.’
    1. 4.1North American Withdraw (a player) from a game.
      ‘four of the leading eight runners were pulled’
      • ‘He has shown he will pull any player who has a defensive lapse.’
      • ‘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 pulled a player for making a mistake, chewed him out, then hugged him around the neck and kissed him on the cheek.’
    2. 4.2 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.’
  • 5Baseball Golf
    Strike (a ball) in the direction of one's follow-through so that it travels to the left or, with a left-handed player, to the right.

    ‘he pulled the ball every time he hit a grounder’
    • ‘This can cause any number of errors, such as pulling the ball to the left or hitting it thin.’
    • ‘Most players, including myself, tend to pull the ball to the left on uphill lies because leg drive is inhibited going into the slope.’
    • ‘A left-handed hitter pulls a single to right field, scoring the runner from second and sending the other to third.’
    • ‘Lefthanded hitters pull the ball, and sure-handed righthanders slap the ball to the opposite field.’
    • ‘If you swing down steeply and then follow through flat, you're likely to slice or pull the ball.’
  • 6American Football
    [no object] (of a lineman) withdraw from position and cross parallel to and behind the line of scrimmage to block opposing players for a runner.

    • ‘Supposedly Martin managed to retain his agility as he put on weight, which should help him in pulling and getting out to block linebackers.’
    • ‘Mahan is excellent at getting off the line, pulling and blocking past the line.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With the linemen pulling, there always is one defender who is unblocked.’


  • 1An act of taking hold of something and exerting force to draw it toward one.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘From what I saw, it looked more like an accidental contact than a blatant pull across the head.’
    • ‘She reached out, she grabbed my hand, and with a quick pull I got her back to her feet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Slowly pulling the fly over the submerged branches it reached the edge of the danger zone, I let the fly drop down a few feet, then gave a couple of quick pulls.’
    • ‘He gave a mighty pull and - look there - wiggling on the end of his tweezers was my beautiful nerve ending.’
    • ‘With a quick pull of the reins, they headed back towards Benson Manor.’
    • ‘Finish the pull with a quick rotation to clear the shoulder and arm for the first recovery.’
    • ‘With a quick pull she managed to get a few chunks of hair on either side to fall out.’
    tug, haul, jerk, heave
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    1. 1.1 A handle to hold while pulling.
      ‘the Cowboy Collection offers hand-forged iron drawer pulls’
      • ‘Or the crown moulding or the fancy new Lutron dimmers or the under-the-cabinet lights or even the drawer pulls.’
      • ‘Made of 1800 denier polyester, it has a retractable pull handle and inline skate wheels.’
      • ‘Taking safety seriously whilst wearing a lifejacket, be aware of where the manual pull handle is, even if it is ‘automatic’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Leather drawer and door pulls add a luxury touch to practical hardware.’
      • ‘The Avenger is a double roller bag with polyester construction and a retractable metal pull handle.’
      • ‘If you're careful you can measure to locate holes for pulls and knobs.’
      • ‘If you plan to reuse the hardware, clean and store all the pulls, knobs and their screws in plastic bags.’
      • ‘They have beautiful double-action trigger pulls and are remarkably accurate.’
      • ‘It was based on the Bar X type, but in a casino cabinet with a pull handle.’
      • ‘The jewelry designer fashioned a copper sink, some light fixtures, and drawer pulls, and she tiled one of the baths.’
      • ‘In addition to the pulls and knobs themselves, there are also backer plates, which sit behind the pull or knob.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Other highlights include handstitched doorknobs and door levers and a wide range of cabinet pulls and knobs.’
      • ‘With the plane disintegrating around him, O'Grady reached down between his knees and grabbed the pull handle of his ejection seat.’
      • ‘Many of these actuators were simple levers or wire pulls, none of which had any means to prevent unauthorised operation.’
      • ‘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.’
      handle, grip, switch, joystick, key, knob
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    2. 1.2 A deep draft of a drink.
      ‘he unscrewed the cap from the flask and took another pull’
      • ‘She looked at him and took a long pull of her drink.’
      • ‘Tahr took a pull of her drink, then stared at it as if wishing it were something stronger.’
      • ‘She takes a deep pull and starts coughing really hard and laughing at the same time.’
      • ‘He kept the drink at his lips for an extra pull, feeling the alcohol burn a path from his tongue to his stomach.’
      • ‘Did she hide bottles in the garden or the lavatory cistern and take a sneaky pull when she thought no one was looking?’
      gulp, draught, drink, swallow, mouthful, sip, sup
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    3. 1.3 An act of sucking at a cigar or pipe.
      ‘he took a pull on his cheroot’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While waiting for a bus, remove a cigarette from pack and proceed to light. After taking 3 pulls, your bus should be there…!’
      • ‘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. 1.4 An injury to a muscle or ligament caused by abnormal strain.
      ‘he was taken out of the game with a hamstring pull’
      • ‘He got more bruises and cuts, muscle pulls and strains than he could remember.’
      • ‘Owen's biggest challenge might be avoiding hamstring muscle pulls, which have plagued him during his short career.’
      • ‘I've learned this lesson the hard way after several strains and pulls.’
      • ‘The result has been few problems with hamstring pulls, rib-cage injuries and shoulder strains.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Muscle pulls are rarely serious, unless they occur in a vulnerable area, such as the hamstring.’
      • ‘However, Andres had to overcome two serious injuries, the first of which was a hamstring pull.’
      • ‘I am healthy, and the only time I've had to see a doctor in the last five years was for a muscle pull.’
      • ‘I want to make the point that the feeling of the muscle pull is nothing like the increasing fatigue of running.’
      • ‘He has worked diligently on his conditioning, hoping to prevent muscle pulls and strains, which have hampered him during the season.’
      • ‘By the end of the season I was suffering from a muscle pull injury in my shoulder that effectively ended my rookie tennis season.’
      • ‘Half way through the fourth, Palmer suffered a muscle pull and surrendered effectively at that point.’
      • ‘Embrace the pain - so long as it's not caused by a real injury, like a muscle pull.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Avoid jerking or bouncing as it can lead to strains, pulls and other kinds of injuries.’
      • ‘The pull of these muscles occasionally exacerbates fracture displacement.’
      • ‘A proper warm-up literally warms and lubricates the muscles, thereby greatly reducing the risk of pulls and strains.’
    5. 1.5 A printer's proof.
      • ‘Proof ‘pulls’ of World War propaganda posters are quite rare.’
      • ‘Its first pulls are read as proof.’
      page proof, galley proof, galley, slip, trial print
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  • 2[in singular] A force drawing someone or something in a particular direction or course of action.

    ‘the pull of the water tore her away’
    ‘the pull of her hometown was a strong one’
    • ‘It is fascinating to observe how they struggle to overcome both the pull of gravity and the force of waterfalls.’
    • ‘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 strong pull of gravity from the collapsed star pulls material off the normal star.’
    • ‘The gravitational pull of the Moon provides the twice-daily tides on Earth as Earth spins under the Moon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So why is the gravitational pull downward stronger than ever before?’
    • ‘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 gravitational pull of all of the planets combined on earth is almost nothing when compared to the gravitational pull of the sun on earth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now they've found that the centrifugal force of a spinning ring balances the pull of gravity all by itself.’
    • ‘Then its own ion engine will take it, gradually, into bigger and bigger orbits, until the gravitational pull of the Moon takes over.’
    • ‘The most familiar form of potential energy involves the pull of Earth's gravity.’
    • ‘Now we have left the gravitational pull of the Earth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you go in feet first, the gravitational pull will be much stronger on your shoes than your head, tending to make you instantly thinner and taller.’
    • ‘The Sun, Earth and Moon were in alignment, which increased the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon on the Earth.’
    1. 2.1 Something exerting an influence or attraction.
      ‘one of the pulls of urban life is the opportunity of finding work’
      • ‘It's an odd pull that land of cactus and mesquite exerts on those of us born to it.’
      • ‘Not exclusively, of course, but the monochromatic examples exerted a considerable pull.’
      • ‘Henry Street continues to exert a strong pull, attracting more shoppers than Grafton Street at all peak shopping periods this quarter.’
      • ‘The paintings exert an almost palpable pull, urging you closer.’
      • ‘But there is also an internal pull, drawing men and women to embrace a label they might once have eschewed.’
      • ‘She never conveys the emotional pull Sondheim exerts on some of us.’
      • ‘The European Union has become a gigantic political and economic magnet whose greatest strength is the attractive pull it exerts on its neighbors.’
      • ‘The Maltese are devout Catholics and the church exerts a strong pull.’
      • ‘Stacey felt a pull of attraction she tried to ignore.’
      • ‘He will probably be unable to counter such a pull before the instability is established.’
      • ‘Then his eyes slid over to Damien's discarded weapon, drawn irresistibly by an invisible 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘From the bedroom, Essence of Persimmon exerts a magnetic pull I can feel in my chest.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      attraction, lure, allurement, enticement, drawing power, draw, magnetism, influence, enchantment, magnet, temptation, invitation, fascination, appeal
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 The condition of being able to exercise influence.
      ‘they were hamstrung without the political pull of the mayor's office’
      • ‘The High Commands of both countries were dominated by the old traditional cavalry regiments and their political pull was great.’
      • ‘In both cases White's Bishops should give him some pull.’
      • ‘When it comes to things like videos, major labels have a lot of pull, where independent labels are pretty much blackballed.’
      • ‘The psalm-singing donkey bishop has political pull.’
      • ‘People without his political pull have spent years futilely trying to clear their names.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In retrospect, I think one of the things we didn't have is that we didn't have any political pull.’
      • ‘The cold reality is that boaters have absolutely zero political pull.’
      • ‘While I'd like to believe that Stern doesn't have that much pull with his listeners, I know I'd just be kidding myself.’
      • ‘Less rain would be good in the afternoon/evening, so if anyone has any pull with the weather folks, put in a good word, would you?’
      • ‘We expect that clergy will be appointed because they show appropriate spirituality and not because their families have some pull with the patron of the parish.’
      • ‘The hereditary peers aren't the only ones with pull.’
      • ‘He has Southern charm, a Southern drawl and maybe some Southern pull.’
      • ‘Our young men are also susceptible to the media's pull.’
      • ‘Smaller companies without political pull will be liquidated if they don't fill the quota; larger companies will be left alone.’
      • ‘While the UK is number one in European biotechnology, there is far less market pull, especially within healthcare, in Europe compared with the US.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A minor group in Kurdistan with little real pull or power.’
      • ‘Subsequently peer pressure and blackmail of friendship are often major contributing pull factors.’
      influence, sway, strength, power, authority, say, prestige, standing, weight, leverage, muscle, teeth
      View synonyms


  • like pulling teeth

    • informal Extremely difficult to do.

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

  • pull a fast one

    • Try to gain an unfair advantage.

      ‘Joey pulled a fast one on us’
      • ‘To be honest, we thought he was trying to pull a fast one.’
      • ‘You aren't pulling a fast one on me, are you?’
      • ‘She plays a petty shop owner in a village, whose idea of a joke is pulling a fast one on customers.’
      • ‘It tickles me that these folks think they are pulling a fast one on the Big Guy.’
      • ‘Or were the prosecutors trying to pull a fast one?’
      • ‘It showed that management was just trying to pull a fast one.’
      • ‘But will customers think the fast food giant is pulling a fast one?’
      • ‘The woman they have been calling a political novice has just pulled a fast one on them.’
      • ‘It's tough when a close pal pulls a fast one on you.’
      • ‘Are people playing by the rules of the game or pulling a fast one?’
      outsmart, outwit, out-think, outmanoeuvre, outplay, be cleverer than, steal a march on, trick, gull, make a fool of, get the better of
      outfox, put one over on, make rings round, run rings round
      View synonyms
  • pull someone's leg

    • Deceive someone playfully; tease someone.

      • ‘Someone who doesn't know anything is pulling your leg.’
      • ‘I thought she was pulling my leg - until he arrived on my doorstep.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The most skeptical responses, also unsurprisingly, were in Toronto, where everyone thought I was pulling their 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.’
      • ‘When they called to tell us we'd won, I thought they were pulling my leg.’
      • ‘He said friends and colleagues had pulled his leg about the attention he received as a result of the rescue.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They think you're pulling their leg, having a joke.’
      tease, rag, make fun of, chaff, trick, joke with, play a joke on, play a trick on, play a practical joke on, taunt, jest
      hoax, fool, deceive, misguide, lead on, hoodwink, dupe, beguile, gull
      kid, have on, rib, wind up, take for a ride, lead up the garden path, take the mickey out of, make a monkey out of
      put on
      tease, fool, play a trick on, make fun of, joke with, rag, chaff, twit, pull the wool over someone's eyes
      kid, bamboozle, lead up the garden path, take for a ride, rib, take the mickey out of, get a rise out of, take a rise out of
      wind up, have on
      View synonyms
  • pull out all the stops

    • 1Make a very great effort to achieve something.

      ‘the director pulled out all the stops to meet the impossible deadline’
      • ‘We also have the Britain in Bloom judging next week and then the Summer Festival, so we are pulling out all the stops to get this resolved.’
      • ‘People are pulling out all the stops, and though there are several hurdles still to cross, it is all looking very positive.’
      • ‘The manufacturers are pulling out all the stops to get it completed as soon as possible.’
      • ‘However, he is fearful that the new clause may be delayed, unless the Department of Health pulls out all the stops to make sure the new legislation is written in time.’
      • ‘We are pulling out all the stops on this investigation and bringing in extra officers.’
      • ‘I tend to think Duncan probably pulls out all the stops to help small business people.’
      • ‘But when it counts, he really pulls out all the stops and that is why we have done so well.’
      • ‘It is a very serious offence and we are pulling out all the stops to trace them.’
      • ‘We are now pulling out all the stops to reduce as far as possible the actual number of job losses.’
      • ‘But while the government is pulling out all the stops to promote parental involvement in their children's education, it clearly does not intend to hand over responsibility wholesale.’
      make an effort, exert oneself, try hard, strive, endeavour, apply oneself, do one's best, do all one can, do one's utmost, give one's all, make every effort, spare no effort, be at pains, put oneself out
      struggle, labour, toil, strain, push oneself, drive oneself, work hard, work like a trojan
      cudgel one's brains, rack one's brains
      give it one's best shot, go all out, bend over backwards, lean over backwards, put one's back into it, knock oneself out, do one's damnedest, move heaven and earth, beaver away, slog away, keep one's nose to the grindstone, work one's socks off, break sweat
      do one's darnedest, do one's durnedest, bust one's chops
      go for the doctor
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Do something very elaborately or on a grand scale.
        ‘they gave a Christmas party and pulled out all the stops’
        • ‘Getting a PhD is always a good thing, and Cambridge certainly pulls out all the stops when it comes to bizarre commemorative rituals, including value added Latin declamations.’
        • ‘Gloucestershire pulled all the stops out for the Jubilee weekend and it looks like they'll do it again on Monday.’
        • ‘Harrogate Cricket Club will be pulling out all the stops on June 21 when Yorkshire play their first match on the St George's Road ground for three years.’
        • ‘Elephant is definitely their defining moment: crashing rock that pulls out all the stops.’
        • ‘To survive in a climate of higher interest rates, soaring fuel costs, rising inflation and lower consumer confidence, Britain's mid-market clothing retailers are pulling out all the stops.’
        • ‘With one glance at the palace interior, he could tell that the Oscillians had pulled out all the stops for this grand gala evening.’
  • pull the plug

    • 1Prevent something from happening or continuing.

      ‘the company pulled the plug on the deal because it was not satisfied with the terms’
      • ‘With prospects for future sales looking good, ebookers hopes to cash in on the restructuring from earlier this year as it continues to pull the plug on less profitable parts of its business.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hundreds of thousands of pounds was due to be spent improving safety on the line - both on carriages and at stations - until the Strategic Rail Authority pulled the plug on funding.’
      • ‘We went from Hollywood to Mammoth, which was a boutique inside of Hollywood, then Disney pulled the plug on Mammoth six weeks before our record came out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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
      suspend, interrupt, break off, phase out, withdraw
      abandon, give up, cease, refrain from
      cut, axe, scrap, give something the chop, knock something on the head, leave off, pack in
      View synonyms
    • 2Remove (a patient) from life support.

      ‘we'll be talking to people who pulled the plug on their mothers’
      • ‘A physician with a patient's permission can stop dialysis or pull the plug of a respirator.’
      • ‘Unscrupulous individuals will set about killing the old or pulling the plug on coma patients in a willy-nilly fashion.’
      • ‘Kyle held her hand fast though, he remembered when she'd gone to the hospital when she was little and a doctor had pulled the plug on a life support unit connected to her cousin.’
      • ‘The law allows hospitals to pull the plug on patients if a doctor believes the patient is unlikely to recover and if that patient can't pay.’
      • ‘Is pulling the plug on a terminal patient the exact moral equivalent of plugging in the electric chair?’
      • ‘However if he had been terminally unconscious and on life support I know I would have pulled the plug.’
      • ‘When someone tries to kill comatose, hit-and-run victim Alexandre by pulling the plug on his life-support machine the patient awakes from his coma instead of dying.’
      • ‘I watched as Doctor Carmichael pulled the plug on the life support and Jaymes breathed his last.’
      • ‘John himself was turned off when he ‘died’ in a hospital scene and they pulled the plug on his life support machine.’
      • ‘Quincy notices an influx of deaths from a nearby sanatorium, and believes that someone on staff has been pulling the plug on patients to ease their suffering.’
  • pull (one's) punches

    • [usually with negative]Be less forceful, severe, or violent than one could be.

      ‘a sharp-tongued critic who doesn't pull his punches’
      • ‘And, you know, there's always going to be the, you know, if you were to lose the case, somebody at some point saying you were pulling your punches because you wanted them to get convicted or this or that.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But Jenkins isn't exactly known for pulling his punches and the remark is in line with his sharp-tongued commentary.’
      • ‘That's not to say that our aging pair of (now slightly dowdy) French rascals are going to be pulling their punches at all.’
      • ‘Minority Democrats on that committee are powerless to push the issue, and Democrats generally are pulling their 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.’
      • ‘I've pulled my punches with a few people, where they seemed sensitive.’
  • pull rank

    • Take unfair advantage of one's seniority or privileged position.

      • ‘The skipper, to his credit, doesn't just pull rank and yell at him.’
      • ‘The phone lines are soon filled, and most of the stories have a common theme: The junior senator pulling rank on one of his constituents, breaking in line, demanding to pay less, or ducking out before the bill arrives.’
      • ‘Papa, a captain when he left the reserves, still knew how to pull rank.’
      • ‘The chairman pulled rank, as they so often do in such open and shut cases, and persuaded his underlings he was entitled to enter his court.’
      • ‘So who do you think you're kidding by pulling rank on me?’
      • ‘The coach pulls rank and throws somebody out of their seat.’
      • ‘Sometimes you just have to pull rank because you are the adult.’
      • ‘For the next few days, he denied he had tried to pull rank.’
      • ‘When pulling rank fails to get him off the hook, Wade resorts to desperate measures to escape justice.’
      • ‘When Ricky broke his arm and was kept waiting because of insurance concerns, Melissa finally pulled rank as a legislator's wife and got her family added to his state coverage - at a cost of about $300 a month.’
  • pull one's socks up

  • pull strings

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

      • ‘Either this has not been thought through properly, or someone is pulling strings to ensure a head start at the elections in September 2003.’
      • ‘One interesting character is the morally ambiguous mastermind Mr Haddon, who pulls strings behind the scenes and gives Ellie most of her funding.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now this is fine - he has some excellent contacts, knows how to pull strings, and is a fairly reasonable guy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She did him her best turns later on when she got her influential lovers to pull strings for him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They view him as, you know, this sort of mastermind who, you know, pulls strings from the shadows and things of that nature.’
      • ‘There must be someone at the centre of a web, pulling strings, yanking cords, tugging ropes and generally causing all their misery and pain or lulling them into dry boredom.’
      • ‘The only magic is councillors pulling strings.’
      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 hard when someone pulls the strings,’ he added.’
      • ‘The skillful dealers are always seeking for a better place to sell their stuff and can change their boss, the one who actually stands higher in the hierarchy and pulls the strings.’
      • ‘The man who pulls the strings at East End Park is desperate to emerge from the shadows of a difficult season as Celtic pay a cup visit.’
      • ‘The British Council board has always been a good indicator of who pulls the strings.’
      • ‘You may have pulled the strings of a Government which has led a country to collapse?’
      • ‘It's not the employees, it's the Government that is pulling the strings of employers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Girls are the smart ones, they let the guys think they control the world, but they pull the strings.’
      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
      exercise control over, be in control of, be in charge of, be in command of, take care of, look after, be responsible for, be at the helm of, hold sway over
      head up, call the shots, call the tune, run the show, be in the driving seat, be in the saddle
      View synonyms
  • pull together

    • Cooperate in a task or undertaking.

      • ‘The community has already started to pull together to support the club.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was imperative that the community pulled together and co-operated in the future development of the area.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We will all pull together as a team and give 100 per cent commitment, that's for sure.’
      • ‘Some dramatic events make the groups pull together as teams, and some timely remarks make them take a closer look at their lives.’
      • ‘Hopefully, with a little work, the team can pull together in the future.’
      • ‘I think it does show that we can get along and that we can live together and work together and pull together.’
      • ‘Young players and weathered campaigners pulled together as a force that was more than a team.’
      • ‘So much for collective responsibility, of a team and their manager pulling together at a moment of crisis.’
      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
      coordinate with each other, liaise with each other
      conspire, connive, collude, be in collusion, work hand in glove
      gang up
      View synonyms
  • pull oneself together

    • Recover control of one's emotions.

      • ‘After several minutes of hysterics he pulls himself together and approaches Lena.’
      • ‘This gave her a chance to recover, a chance to pull herself together.’
      • ‘But he gives her credit for pulling herself together quickly.’
      • ‘I tried to pull myself together because I knew Karl would be out of the recovery room soon.’
      • ‘I pulled myself together, valiantly trying to not allow my emotions to show.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They embrace over a tureen of soup then she pulls herself together to sing I'm Just a Dope Who is Stuck on Hope.’
      • ‘But the show must go on, so Ross pulls himself together and rises to complete his snivelling soliloquy.’
      • ‘He stopped going to work, he stopped pulling himself together to face the week like a normal person.’
      • ‘She couldn't even stand up straight and she had to stop a few times, as if pulling herself together.’
      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
      snap out of it, get one's act together, buck up
      View synonyms
  • pull one's weight

    • Do one's fair share of work.

      • ‘The public is disenchanted with the parliament's performance thus far and has the impression too many MSPs are not pulling their weight.’
      • ‘For example, some of the older members of the community felt that the youngsters weren't pulling their weight.’
      • ‘You went to training to prove to yourself, nobody else, that you're capable, not of being the best player, but of pulling your weight.’
      • ‘As always we implore players to play all their games, you're a member of a team and must pull your weight and one point is often the difference between getting through or not.’
      • ‘In order for a team or group to be successful everyone must work hard, in unison, and pull their weight.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Villa people are neurotic about others not pulling their weight.’
  • pull wires

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

  • pull the wool over someone's eyes

    • Deceive someone by telling untruths.

      • ‘Perhaps they were great actors, pulling the wool over my eyes, and they have a plan in the back room to attack that market.’
      • ‘They were pulling the wool over our eyes from Day One.’
      • ‘The president's ‘$11 trillion’ is meaningless and an attempt to pull the wool over your eyes.’
      • ‘But I merely pulled the wool over his eyes so he'd shut up.’
      • ‘We submit further that each one of the defendants told you lie after lie after lie in order to attempt to pull the wool over your eyes.’
      • ‘No - it is still being used to pull the wool over our eyes.’
      • ‘Being in the ‘promised land’ is obviously not all it's cracked up to be - or just maybe the board are pulling the wool over our eyes.’
      • ‘I thought somebody was pulling the wool over my eyes.’
      • ‘He presents it as though he's pulling the wool over our eyes, only we are all too stupid to notice.’
      • ‘He pulled the wool over their eyes with a forged student ID card.’
      deceive, fool, trick, take in, hoodwink, dupe, delude
      lead up the garden path, pull a fast one on, put one over on, bamboozle, con
      View synonyms

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’
      • ‘At that point, the division headquarters and support troops were pulled back to refit.’
      • ‘South Korean and Bulgarian troops were pulled back to their bases, while New Zealand is withdrawing its engineers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘As we start to trust each other a little more, most troops will be pulled back and returned to their barracks,’ he said.’
      withdraw, retreat, draw back, fall back, retire, disengage, pull out, back off, give ground, give way
      flee, take flight, turn tail, beat a retreat, beat a hasty retreat
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Withdraw from an undertaking.
        ‘the party pulled back from its only positive policy’
        • ‘And, therefore, we're going to pull back on that and we'll look at it in hearings and in committee.’
        • ‘With consumers and investors both pulling back, there is one reliable tool of economic stimulus - government spending.’
        • ‘Some are pressuring their banks to pull back, undercutting subsidiaries in East Europe.’
        • ‘The award comes at a time when Chance has been forced to pull back from his community efforts.’
        • ‘We will not pull back from it.’
        • ‘Consumers are pulling back on their spending amid the recession.’
        • ‘Last week, it pulled back from this position, confirming that it had reached an agreement with the firm's directors.’
        • ‘Particularly after the health care debacle early on, she really pulled back.’
        • ‘Obviously, she pulled back on that a little bit.’
        withdraw, resign, leave, retire, step down, get out, quit, back out, bow out
        View synonyms
  • pull something down

    • 1Demolish a building.

      • ‘It was feared the building could be pulled down or made into flats.’
      • ‘Poorly designed office blocks could be pulled down and more landmark buildings erected to add to the town's famous glass pyramid and viaduct.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As the wondrously ugly 1960 buildings are pulled down, beautiful Bradford is re-emerging.’
      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’
      • ‘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 or its driver) move to the side of or off the road.

      ‘he pulled in at the curb’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.

      • ‘Westminster station is unusually busy, and when the Richmond train pulls in, there's nowhere to sit.’
      • ‘There is a 30-minute wait standing in the cold on Platform 3 before the train finally pulls in at 3.45 pm.’
      • ‘A train 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.’
      • ‘A train pulls in to the Angus ‘ghost’ station early in the morning and another calls late at night.’
      • ‘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?’’
      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 Reform Party pulled in 10% 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’
        • ‘‘You lose some, you win some,’ he said airily, adding that he now pulls in $300,000 an hour during appearances every other month on QVC, with which he has had a contract for eight years.’
        • ‘In 2005, the company's four executives and directors pulled in $100,000 combined.’
    • 2Arrest someone.

      ‘I'd pull him in for questioning’
      • ‘‘Even very high officers might be pulled in as suspects,’ they said.’
      • ‘In the latter case, the shop developing the prints alerted the police, who pulled Somerville 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.’
      • ‘He said from the embassy that he had been pulled in and threatened four times by armed Spanish police, who, he claimed, were drunk.’
      • ‘Then it would be over zealous Spanish cops who decided to pull the suspect in.’
      arrest, apprehend, detain, take into custody, take prisoner, seize, capture, catch, take in
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    • 3Use reins to check a horse.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The same thing happened to this story about the Football Association pulling the reins in on Fanzine reporting of fixtures lists.’
      • ‘Trek grabbed some mane, and the reins, pulling them in.’
      • ‘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.’
  • pull something off

    • Succeed in achieving or winning something difficult.

      ‘he pulled off a brilliant first round win’
      • ‘Going public will make it more difficult to pull the scheme off a second time, and may give them an unsavoury reputation in some quarters.’
      • ‘The thought of it is enough to make you wince, but the performers are skilled enough to pull it off.’
      • ‘They can play a whole set of completely new material and still pull it off.’
      • ‘These four albums will show you why he simultaneously succeeded and failed to pull it off.’
      • ‘Mr Ahern may have difficulty in pulling this trick off.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hunter was forced to pull out of the Games and take early retirement.’
      • ‘The collapse convinced Els to pull out of The Players Championship the following week and give the damaged wrist a rest.’
      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’
        • ‘It sparked a revolution - and a second in October pulled Russia out of the war.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        withdraw, retreat, draw back, fall back, retire, disengage, pull out, back off, give ground, give way
        flee, take flight, turn tail, beat a retreat, beat a hasty retreat
        retreat from, leave, quit, abandon, give up, stop participating in, get out of, back out of, bow out of, renege on
        View synonyms
    • 2(of a bus or train) leave with its passengers.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I watched helplessly as my train pulled out of the station.’
      • ‘As the train pulled out of Winchester, he staggered to his feet and zig-zagged down the carriage to the toilet.’
      • ‘The doors closed and the train pulled out of the station.’
    • 3(of a vehicle or its driver) move out from the side of the road, or from its normal position in order to pass.

      ‘as he turned the corner, a police car pulled out in front of him’
      • ‘Time and time again I put my foot down in that Beemer, pulled out to overtake the Rover, and then when I was on the wrong side of the road simply ran out of oomph.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We trooped back into the car and Ken pulled out onto the road so fast that the tyres screeched in protest.’
      • ‘A man driving a Vauxhall Corsa car pulled out from a slip road and clipped the side of a lorry.’
      • ‘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.’
  • pull over

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

      • ‘Edward stopped the car on a deserted stretch of road, pulling over to the side.’
      • ‘I got so scared at one stage I had to pull over on the open road and do deep breaths and wait for my hands to shake a little less.’
      • ‘Unable to drive properly while laughing, Derek pulled over to the side of the road to settle down.’
      • ‘If in any case your radiator overheats while you are stuck in traffic, the best thing to do is pull over and stop.’
      • ‘Currently, lorries pull over on the side of the road to unload and traffic passes around them.’
      stop, halt, come to a halt, come to a stop, pull in, pull off the road, draw in, park, arrive, draw up
      View synonyms
  • pull someone over

    • Cause a driver to move to the side of the road to be charged for a traffic offense.

      ‘he was pulled over for speeding’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The morning after we arrived we were caught up in a police road block where we were pulled over and questioned.’
      • ‘Police pulled him over and administered a breathalyser test, which he failed.’
      • ‘I'm the police officer who pulled you over once because one of your taillights were out.’
  • pull through (or pull someone/something through)

    • Get through or enable someone or something to get through an illness or other dangerous or difficult situation.

      ‘the illness is difficult to overcome, but we hope she'll pull through’
      • ‘If you don't let them know that there's hope, they won't pull it through.’
      • ‘It gave them something sure to hold on to, to pull them through all the danger and hardship.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I only hoped it would be enough to pull me through this situation.’
      get better, get well again, improve, recover, rally, survive, come through, recuperate
      get over something
      be all right
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  • pull up

    • 1(of a vehicle or its driver) come to a halt.

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

      • ‘The pilot scores a hit as he pulls up and heads around for another pass.’
      • ‘Pull up in a high sharp wing-over and then dive on your enemy.’
      • ‘The airplane nicely recovered by smoothly pulling up to level flight.’
      • ‘So low in fact, that the pilots had to pull up slightly to get the plane on the runway!’
      • ‘I used to fly over a city or town, buzz it and pull up doing a climbing slow roll.’
  • pull someone up

    • 1Cause someone to stop or pause; check someone.

      ‘the shock of his words pulled her up short’
      • ‘He pulled her up short as he spotted a buggy approaching at a reckless speed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      1. 1.1Reprimand someone.
        • ‘Father would quiz us constantly and if we did not know the answers, we would be pulled up sharply.’
        • ‘I wish I had pulled her up on it, rather than simply accepting it.’
        • ‘It seems strange to pull someone up for being too polished (kinda like being stopped by a cop for being too good a driver).’
        • ‘Ten minutes into the second half Boyne were pulled up for crossing.’
        • ‘The honourable member for Grayndler was pulled up for using the term bigot.’
        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
        tell off, give someone a telling-off, bawl out, dress down, give someone hell, give someone a talking-to, give someone a dressing-down, give someone an earful, give someone a piece of one's mind, blow up, give someone a roasting, give someone a rocket, give someone a rollicking, give someone a row
        tick off, carpet, give someone a mouthful
        chew out
        reprehend, excoriate
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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.