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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Two men jumped out of the vehicle, grabbing Alan's arms as they pulled him towards the car.’
    • ‘Finola grabbed both Scempt and Maylin's wrists and pulled them towards the door.’
    • ‘Aimée draped her carry-on bag over her shoulder and pulled the suitcase towards the door.’
    • ‘Quietly he moved towards the door, pulling it open just enough for him to squeeze through.’
    • ‘He did not wait for an answer before grabbing her hand and beginning to pull her towards the door.’
    • ‘The bell rang again, and with a growl, Jessi stumbled towards the door and pulled it open.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She starts pulling me towards the door and I am forced to follow.’
    • ‘Blair walked around the car and tried to pull Jim toward the door of their building.’
    • ‘I seized his arm with both hands and began pulling him towards the door.’
    • ‘Someone in front of her grabbed her and started pulling her towards the door.’
    • ‘I take her hand in mine and pull her towards the door.’
    • ‘He cheered her on, pulling her towards his car, a brand new, red Corvette.’
    • ‘She grabbed Jack by the hand and tried to pull him towards the direction of Ayers Rock.’
    • ‘Smiling happily, Josh grabbed both of their hands and pulled them towards the doors.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She turned the giant clear doorknob on the heavy front door and forcefully pulled it towards herself.’
    • ‘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
    View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Crouching in the shadows, he watched silently as the beast pulled a wagon away down the street.’
      • ‘There, cows and geese sway and horses pull carts past old men who sit motionless in the shade of a few broad trees.’
      • ‘The horses pulling his carriage bolted and the carriage was left hanging over a bridge above the river Seine.’
      • ‘The confusion, it seems, is because the horses pulling the royal carriage procession are being stabled at Imphal Barracks.’
      • ‘Waka, the Clydesdale horse pulls a wagon over a hundred years old, and the driver gives a commentary as you travel.’
      • ‘Originally operated by the Royal Navy, in Fulham, the vehicle pulled trailers filled with torpedoes.’
      • ‘Just five or ten years ago, the potato men would have come down this street in a wooden wagon pulled by a horse.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Two horses were pulling the carriage but Jok was not guiding them.’
      • ‘Out in the street a horse pulled its abandoned cart, oblivious to the disturbance.’
      • ‘Then out of nowhere came the sound of a cart being pulled by heavy horses.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Animal lover Mrs Trueman's funeral carriage was pulled by the horses used in the recent funeral of East End gangster Reggie Kray.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The horse started pulling the cart up the long cobbled driveway.’
    2. 1.2Take 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’
      • ‘After brushing her teeth, she pulled the pins from her hair, letting it fall in waves down to her hips.’
      • ‘I pulled out a comb and brushed my hair.’
      • ‘If the bead is screwed in place, remove the screws and pull it out with pliers.’
      • ‘She carefully removed her headdress and pulled the choir robe over her head.’
      • ‘‘We were supposedly to pull a name out of the hat as part of a game and I pulled out his,’ recalls Rona.’
      • ‘My hands trembling, I fumbled to remove my shoes and pull the boots on over my stockings.’
      • ‘She removed her hat and pulled the hair pins from her hair and let it hang loose down her back.’
      • ‘Sam pulled out her black book and opened it, pulling a pencil from her bag.’
      • ‘Instead, an extractor pulls empties from the chamber just far enough to allow you to grip and remove them.’
      • ‘Stumbling to her dresser, she pulled out the first things she saw and pulled them on.’
      • ‘The cry turned into a growl as it turned around completely, taking the arrow in its teeth and pulling it out.’
      • ‘Tricia opened the fridge and pulled out a carton of milk, then pulled a saucer out of a cabinet.’
      • ‘From behind his back, he pulled out a menu like he was a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat.’
      • ‘She pulls a couple of chairs up to the window.’
      • ‘Trev went back to the bedroom to pull on clothes as Ford pulled the pizza box out of the fridge.’
      • ‘It will have an extractor to pull the fired shell out of the chamber, and an ejector to kick it out of the gun.’
      • ‘I turned around towards the door, pulling my spare key out of my purse and unlocking it, walking inside.’
      • ‘At the bottom of the lever's stroke, the extractor pulls the spent cartridge partially from the chamber.’
      • ‘An extractor pulls empty cases part way from the chamber, where they can be removed with your fingers.’
      • ‘The coleoptile could then be removed by carefully pulling it away from the kernel between the thumb and the forefinger.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 1.4[no object]Inhale deeply while smoking (a pipe or cigar)
      • ‘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.’
    5. 1.5Damage (a muscle, ligament, etc.) by abnormal strain.
      • ‘When strain is put on the knee, the muscles around the kneecap can be pulled.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pleasurable when you get there but try not to pull a muscle or strain something else trying to saddle up.’
      • ‘Flexible muscles are far less likely to be strained or pulled than tight ones.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She refused and subsequently suffered injuries to her shoulder, pulled muscles and bruises.’
      • ‘Wright might not be able to start the opener because of a pulled stomach muscle.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 see a lot more strains and pulled muscles that can end up hampering the player all year long.’
      • ‘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 guys must all paddle the same and all overcompensate somehow to have pulled that muscle.’
      • ‘He rubbed at his neck, the pulled muscle had caused him agony all night but he hadn't dared to show it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She felt like she had a back strain or pulled ligament in her right side above her hip.’
      • ‘Broken noses, bad backs and pulled muscles seemed to lie everywhere.’
      • ‘This was no pulled muscle, Ivan thought as he crumpled against the doorway he had just walked through.’
    6. 1.6Print (a proof)
      • ‘A proof sheet would be pulled, and read against the manuscript.’
      • ‘Two proofs have been pulled and are propped side by side.’
    7. 1.7Computing
      Retrieve (an item of data) from the top of a stack.
      • ‘Data may be pulled from a single knowledge base or multiple databases throughout the enterprise.’
      • ‘The image database continues to pull from Google at this point.’
  • 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’
    • ‘Europe's benchmark stock indexes have lagged comparable US measures this year, but they may soon start to pull ahead.’
    • ‘Hawks pulled further ahead when scrummaging with only seven men.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What's going on is that Tesco's is pulling further ahead and Sainsbury's is catching up.’
    • ‘As the United States pulls farther and farther ahead of Europe economically, this idea appears more and more perverse.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This process plays out a bit like cars on the interstate: Eventually a pack of Maseratis will pull ahead as the Pintos fall back.’
    • ‘Having stopped the rot and prevented Hearts pulling any further ahead of them, the next task is pegging them back.’
    • ‘We finally pulled ahead of her at one of the no-lane free-for-alls after the toll booth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With a no nonsense attitude, the Captain pinned his ears and steadily pulled away to win by three.’
    • ‘Kenmare pulled ahead by three points with another point from a free.’
    • ‘The effect of his outburst is happily plain to see in the latest opinion poll showing Labour pulling ahead of the Tories.’
    • ‘Figures released today showed that while sales pulled ahead for most of May, the rain curbed shoppers' enthusiasm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'm starting to pull ahead in that last, though, so that's good.’
    • ‘His tractor was ‘breaking traction’ but was moving so he kept pulling ahead as the car was coming closer.’
    1. 2.1[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’
      • ‘I scurried up and crawled into bed, pulling myself under the comfortable covers.’
      • ‘Marc moved his leg gingerly and with great effort pulled himself to his feet.’
      • ‘One more effort like that to pull himself along the ground would finish him.’
      • ‘As he swung away he used a bit of the excess force to pull himself up.’
      • ‘‘Grab a hold of the edges and pull yourself up,’ Sean explained.’
      • ‘With effort the turtle pulls himself over the ledge and then rests a moment.’
      • ‘Balou, in very critical condition had somehow managed to crawl home, pulling himself by his front paws.’
      • ‘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 great effort, she pulled herself back and slid her sword back against his blade.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He'd gone no more than a yard when Pritchard pulled himself up, moving slowly enough not to make any noise.’
      • ‘With an effort, she pulled herself upright, weaving through the crowd.’
      • ‘Once I relaxed and started to pull myself upward, I slid through the gap easily.’
      • ‘He got his leg over the top, and started to pull himself up as he crawled forward.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The effort to pull myself back under the covers hurt just as much as standing up did.’
      • ‘He could then pull himself up by fractions of an inch at a time.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Typically, developing children sit up, crawl, pull themselves up, then toddle.’
    2. 2.2Move one's body in a specified direction, especially against resistance.
      ‘she tried to pull away from him’
      • ‘Cathy tried to pull away from him but he wouldn't let her.’
      • ‘A chill descends down my spine as I pull away from the Caddy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The 115 bhp engine pulls well throughout its speed range, which peaks at 122 mph.’
      • ‘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 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…’
    4. 2.4Work 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’
    • ‘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 it has a large-screen TV, Miso pulls a youngish, clubby clientele more than a sports crowd.’
    • ‘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 predominantly a haunt of the over-35s, the Judges pulls a surprisingly diverse crowd.’
    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
    View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The riot was a dirty trick which was pulled off through the use of deception, and Bloggergate is the same thing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We skated there for a while and everyone seemed to be pulling the newest tricks.’
  • 4informal Cancel or withdraw (an entertainment or advertisement)

    ‘the gig was pulled at the first sign of difficulty’
    • ‘It considered pulling a huge advertising splurge for Martell in the US due to the boycott threats.’
    • ‘You claim that when Ford pulled its adverts it had no effect.’
    • ‘An attempt to float the company for around £750m in 1999 was pulled due to lack of market interest.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Insurer Standard Life really should pull those smug, glossy television advertisements it is running.’
    1. 4.1North American Withdraw (a player) from a game.
      ‘four of the leading eight runners were pulled’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He pulled a player for making a mistake, chewed him out, then hugged him around the neck and kissed him on the cheek.’
      • ‘They know that I do not pull players because of bad play - only because of bad attitudes.’
    2. 4.2Check 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.’
  • 5Golf Baseball
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The key to success has been the ability of the team's athletic linemen to pull and clear room for the back.’
    • ‘Mahan is excellent at getting off the line, pulling and blocking past the line.’
    • ‘Supposedly Martin managed to retain his agility as he put on weight, which should help him in pulling and getting out to block linebackers.’


  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She reached out, she grabbed my hand, and with a quick pull I got her back to her feet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He gave it a quick pull to make sure it was secure.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘From what I saw, it looked more like an accidental contact than a blatant pull across the head.’
    • ‘With a quick pull she managed to get a few chunks of hair on either side to fall out.’
    tug, haul, jerk, heave
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A handle to hold while pulling.
      ‘the Cowboy Collection offers hand-forged iron drawer pulls’
      • ‘Made of 1800 denier polyester, it has a retractable pull handle and inline skate wheels.’
      • ‘In addition to the pulls and knobs themselves, there are also backer plates, which sit behind the pull or knob.’
      • ‘They have beautiful double-action trigger pulls and are remarkably accurate.’
      • ‘Leather drawer and door pulls add a luxury touch to practical hardware.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Or the crown moulding or the fancy new Lutron dimmers or the under-the-cabinet lights or even the drawer pulls.’
      • ‘Purchased doorknobs and drawer pulls from specialty hardware store.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘See where your body fits in relation to all the moving parts and adjust the machine accordingly, using the knobs and pulls.’
      • ‘Taking safety seriously whilst wearing a lifejacket, be aware of where the manual pull handle is, even if it is ‘automatic’.’
      • ‘The jewelry designer fashioned a copper sink, some light fixtures, and drawer pulls, and she tiled one of the baths.’
      • ‘If you plan to reuse the hardware, clean and store all the pulls, knobs and their screws in plastic bags.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many of these actuators were simple levers or wire pulls, none of which had any means to prevent unauthorised operation.’
      • ‘It was based on the Bar X type, but in a casino cabinet with a pull handle.’
      • ‘She fell off my dresser and her back leg got caught in my drawer pull and she fractured her foot.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2A deep draft 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Did she hide bottles in the garden or the lavatory cistern and take a sneaky pull when she thought no one was looking?’
      • ‘Tahr took a pull of her drink, then stared at it as if wishing it were something stronger.’
    3. 1.3An act of sucking at a cigar or pipe.
      ‘he took a pull on his cheroot’
      • ‘He laughed a little, putting the pipe back in his mouth for a long 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…!’
      • ‘Black & Mild cigars tasted a lot like black coffee from the initial pull.’
      • ‘My hand found the packet, and I slid out and lit a Marlboro, and took a long deep pull.’
    4. 1.4An injury to a muscle or ligament caused by abnormal strain.
      ‘he was taken out of the game with a hamstring pull’
      • ‘Patients frequently have a history of a minor injury, sprain or muscle pull incurred while participating in a sport.’
      • ‘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 am healthy, and the only time I've had to see a doctor in the last five years was for a muscle pull.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The result has been few problems with hamstring pulls, rib-cage injuries and shoulder strains.’
      • ‘Half way through the fourth, Palmer suffered a muscle pull and surrendered effectively at that point.’
      • ‘By the end of the season I was suffering from a muscle pull injury in my shoulder that effectively ended my rookie tennis season.’
      • ‘I saw the mechanics and the leg drive - not the hamstring pulls or the shoulder injury.’
      • ‘The pull of these muscles occasionally exacerbates fracture displacement.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've learned this lesson the hard way after several strains and pulls.’
      • ‘He has worked diligently on his conditioning, hoping to prevent muscle pulls and strains, which have hampered him during the season.’
      • ‘This afternoon, with almost half his squad involved in matches, he will face a tense wait for news of groin strains and hamstring pulls.’
      • ‘Avoid jerking or bouncing as it can lead to strains, pulls and other kinds of injuries.’
      • ‘Owen's biggest challenge might be avoiding hamstring muscle pulls, which have plagued him during his short career.’
      • ‘I want to make the point that the feeling of the muscle pull is nothing like the increasing fatigue of running.’
      • ‘Embrace the pain - so long as it's not caused by a real injury, like a muscle pull.’
      • ‘Muscle pulls are rarely serious, unless they occur in a vulnerable area, such as the hamstring.’
    5. 1.5A printer's proof.
      • ‘Its first pulls are read as proof.’
      • ‘Proof ‘pulls’ of World War propaganda posters are quite rare.’
  • 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’
    • ‘The moon feels the gravitational pull of not only Earth but also the sun.’
    • ‘Now we have left the gravitational pull of the Earth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But as we haul ourselves against the pull of gravity and into the 21st century, we continue to have misgivings.’
    • ‘The strong pull of gravity from the collapsed star pulls material off the normal star.’
    • ‘Then its own ion engine will take it, gradually, into bigger and bigger orbits, until the gravitational pull of the Moon takes over.’
    • ‘It is fascinating to observe how they struggle to overcome both the pull of gravity and the force of waterfalls.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So why is the gravitational pull downward stronger than ever before?’
    • ‘Now they've found that the centrifugal force of a spinning ring balances the pull of gravity all by itself.’
    • ‘The most familiar form of potential energy involves the pull of Earth's gravity.’
    • ‘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 gravitational pull of the Moon provides the twice-daily tides on Earth as Earth spins under the Moon.’
    • ‘The Sun, Earth and Moon were in alignment, which increased the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon on the Earth.’
    • ‘That unexpectedly collapses it into a black hole, a supermassive region with a gravitational pull so strong not even light can escape.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    1. 2.1Something exerting an influence or attraction.
      ‘one of the pulls of urban life is the opportunity of finding work’
      • ‘The paintings exert an almost palpable pull, urging you closer.’
      • ‘He will probably be unable to counter such a pull before the instability is established.’
      • ‘The European Union has become a gigantic political and economic magnet whose greatest strength is the attractive pull it exerts on its neighbors.’
      • ‘Stacey felt a pull of attraction she tried to ignore.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, it demonstrates the pull a curator can exert on an exhibition.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She never conveys the emotional pull Sondheim exerts on some of us.’
      • ‘Henry Street continues to exert a strong pull, attracting more shoppers than Grafton Street at all peak shopping periods this quarter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After all, we're an island nation on whom the sea exerts an irresistible pull.’
      • ‘Then his eyes slid over to Damien's discarded weapon, drawn irresistibly by an invisible pull.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But there is also an internal pull, drawing men and women to embrace a label they might once have eschewed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Despite his track record Davies admits to being in awe of Doctor Zhivago, largely because the 1965 film version still exerts such a pull.’
      • ‘There's an insistent rough-edged energy to Dude which exerts a physical pull that I find wholly appealing.’
      • ‘From the bedroom, Essence of Persimmon exerts a magnetic pull I can feel in my chest.’
      • ‘The Maltese are devout Catholics and the church exerts a strong pull.’
    2. 2.2The condition of being able to exercise influence.
      ‘they were hamstrung without the political pull of the mayor's office’
      • ‘The smaller outfits will simply never have the political pull or advertising budget of the big guys.’
      • ‘Subsequently peer pressure and blackmail of friendship are often major contributing pull factors.’
      • ‘People without his political pull have spent years futilely trying to clear their names.’
      • ‘The hereditary peers aren't the only ones with pull.’
      • ‘When it comes to things like videos, major labels have a lot of pull, where independent labels are pretty much blackballed.’
      • ‘The High Commands of both countries were dominated by the old traditional cavalry regiments and their political pull was great.’
      • ‘While the UK is number one in European biotechnology, there is far less market pull, especially within healthcare, in Europe compared with the US.’
      • ‘In both cases White's Bishops should give him some pull.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Our young men are also susceptible to the media's 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.’
      • ‘A minor group in Kurdistan with little real pull or power.’
      • ‘Smaller companies without political pull will be liquidated if they don't fill the quota; larger companies will be left alone.’
      • ‘The psalm-singing donkey bishop has political pull.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘The cold reality is that boaters have absolutely zero political pull.’
      • ‘He has Southern charm, a Southern drawl and maybe some Southern pull.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


  • like pulling teeth

    • informal 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).’
      • ‘We did the show in Toronto and it was like pulling teeth to get people to participate.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘It's like pulling teeth to get me to show such emotions.’
      • ‘Each revision is like pulling teeth, or like exercise.’
  • pull a face (or faces)

  • pull a fast one

    • informal Try to gain an unfair advantage.

      ‘Joey pulled a fast one on us’
      • ‘But will customers think the fast food giant is pulling a fast one?’
      • ‘It tickles me that these folks think they are pulling a fast one on the Big Guy.’
      • ‘Are people playing by the rules of the game or pulling a fast one?’
      • ‘You aren't pulling a fast one on me, are you?’
      • ‘Or were the prosecutors trying to pull a fast one?’
      • ‘To be honest, we thought he was trying to pull a fast one.’
      • ‘The woman they have been calling a political novice has just pulled a fast one on them.’
      • ‘It showed that management was just trying to pull a fast one.’
      • ‘It's tough when a close pal pulls a fast one on you.’
      • ‘She plays a petty shop owner in a village, whose idea of a joke is pulling a fast one on customers.’
      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.

      • ‘When they called to tell us we'd won, I thought they were pulling my leg.’
      • ‘Unless of course the guy who told me these things was 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.’
      • ‘The most skeptical responses, also unsurprisingly, were in Toronto, where everyone thought I was pulling their 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.’
      • ‘They think you're pulling their leg, having a joke.’
      • ‘I thought she was pulling my leg - until he arrived on my doorstep.’
      • ‘Someone who doesn't know anything is pulling your leg.’
      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’
      • ‘I tend to think Duncan probably pulls out all the stops to help small business people.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘People are pulling out all the stops, and though there are several hurdles still to cross, it is all looking very positive.’
      • ‘It is a very serious offence and we are pulling out all the stops to trace them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But when it counts, he really pulls out all the stops and that is why we have done so well.’
      • ‘We are now pulling out all the stops to reduce as far as possible the actual number of job losses.’
      • ‘We are pulling out all the stops on this investigation and bringing in extra officers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The manufacturers are pulling out all the stops to get it completed as soon as possible.’
      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’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Gloucestershire pulled all the stops out for the Jubilee weekend and it looks like they'll do it again on Monday.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘With one glance at the palace interior, he could tell that the Oscillians had pulled out all the stops for this grand gala evening.’
        • ‘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.’
  • pull the plug

    • 1informal Prevent something from happening or continuing.

      ‘the company pulled the plug on the deal because it was not satisfied with the terms’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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
    • 2informal Remove (a patient) from life support.

      ‘we'll be talking to people who pulled the plug on their mothers’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A physician with a patient's permission can stop dialysis or pull the plug of a respirator.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Is pulling the plug on a terminal patient the exact moral equivalent of plugging in the electric chair?’
      • ‘I watched as Doctor Carmichael pulled the plug on the life support and Jaymes breathed his last.’
      • ‘However if he had been terminally unconscious and on life support I know I would have pulled the plug.’
      • ‘Unscrupulous individuals will set about killing the old or pulling the plug on coma patients in a willy-nilly fashion.’
  • 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’
      • ‘Brower was daring, versatile, and never pulled 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For the truth is that he often pulls his punches.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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've pulled my punches with a few people, where they seemed sensitive.’
      • ‘But Jenkins isn't exactly known for pulling his punches and the remark is in line with his sharp-tongued commentary.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘When pulling rank fails to get him off the hook, Wade resorts to desperate measures to escape justice.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Papa, a captain when he left the reserves, still knew how to pull rank.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The coach pulls rank and throws somebody out of their seat.’
      • ‘Sometimes you just have to pull rank because you are the adult.’
      • ‘So who do you think you're kidding by pulling rank on me?’
      • ‘For the next few days, he denied he had tried to pull rank.’
  • pull one's socks up

  • pull strings

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The only magic is councillors pulling strings.’
      • ‘Either this has not been thought through properly, or someone is pulling strings to ensure a head start at the elections in September 2003.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One interesting character is the morally ambiguous mastermind Mr Haddon, who pulls strings behind the scenes and gives Ellie most of her funding.’
      • ‘She did him her best turns later on when she got her influential lovers to pull strings for him.’
      • ‘They view him as, you know, this sort of mastermind who, you know, pulls strings from the shadows and things of that nature.’
      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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In his view, this will make it possible for the ruling majority to pull the strings of the supervisory body.’
      • ‘The algorithm is clear - the real leader formally gets into the reserve forces but actually pulls the strings behind the curtain.’
      • ‘‘It's hard when someone pulls the strings,’ he added.’
      • ‘The British Council board has always been a good indicator of who pulls 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?’
      • ‘It's not the employees, it's the Government that is pulling the strings of employers.’
      • ‘Girls are the smart ones, they let the guys think they control the world, but they pull the strings.’
      • ‘You may have pulled the strings of a Government which has led a country to collapse?’
      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.

      • ‘I think it does show that we can get along and that we can live together and work together and pull together.’
      • ‘Hopefully, with a little work, the team can pull together in the future.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some dramatic events make the groups pull together as teams, and some timely remarks make them take a closer look at their lives.’
      • ‘We will all pull together as a team and give 100 per cent commitment, that's for sure.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was imperative that the community pulled together and co-operated in the future development of the area.’
      • ‘The community has already started to pull together to support the club.’
      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.

      • ‘I tried to pull myself together because I knew Karl would be out of the recovery room soon.’
      • ‘This gave her a chance to recover, a chance to pull herself together.’
      • ‘But he gives her credit for pulling herself together quickly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the show must go on, so Ross pulls himself together and rises to complete his snivelling soliloquy.’
      • ‘After several minutes of hysterics he pulls himself together and approaches Lena.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 pulled myself together, valiantly trying to not allow my emotions to show.’
      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.

      • ‘For example, some of the older members of the community felt that the youngsters weren't pulling their weight.’
      • ‘In order for a team or group to be successful everyone must work hard, in unison, and pull 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.’
      • ‘The public is disenchanted with the parliament's performance thus far and has the impression too many MSPs are not pulling their weight.’
      • ‘And to be perfectly honest, I doubt that a lot of 70 year olds today are really 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.’
      • ‘While the rookies were pulling their weight, the Warriors also received an obvious boost from one of their veterans.’
      • ‘Villa people are neurotic about others not pulling their 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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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.

      • ‘They were pulling the wool over our eyes from Day One.’
      • ‘He pulled the wool over their eyes with a forged student ID card.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Perhaps they were great actors, pulling the wool over my eyes, and they have a plan in the back room to attack that market.’
      • ‘He presents it as though he's pulling the wool over our eyes, only we are all too stupid to notice.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No - it is still being used to pull the wool over our eyes.’
      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.’
      • ‘‘As we start to trust each other a little more, most troops will be pulled back and returned to their barracks,’ he said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘South Korean and Bulgarian troops were pulled back to their bases, while New Zealand is withdrawing its engineers.’
      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.’
        • ‘Particularly after the health care debacle early on, she really pulled back.’
        • ‘Last week, it pulled back from this position, confirming that it had reached an agreement with the firm's directors.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Obviously, she pulled back on that a little bit.’
        • ‘Consumers are pulling back on their spending amid the recession.’
        withdraw, resign, leave, retire, step down, get out, quit, back out, bow out
        View synonyms
  • pull something down

    • 1Demolish a building.

      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It began to slow down and pulled in to the side of the road, right next to Cannington.’
      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.’
      • ‘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?’’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Even very high officers might be pulled in as suspects,’ they said.’
      arrest, apprehend, detain, take into custody, take prisoner, seize, capture, catch, take in
      View synonyms
    • 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Trek grabbed some mane, and the reins, pulling them in.’
      • ‘The same thing happened to this story about the Football Association pulling the reins in on Fanzine reporting of fixtures lists.’
  • pull something off

    • Succeed in achieving or winning something difficult.

      ‘he pulled off a brilliant first round win’
      • ‘The thought of it is enough to make you wince, but the performers are skilled enough to 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.’
      • ‘They can play a whole set of completely new material and still 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.’
      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
      View synonyms
  • pull out

    • 1Withdraw from an undertaking.

      ‘he was forced to pull out of the championship because of an injury’
      • ‘The collapse convinced Els to pull out of The Players Championship the following week and give the damaged wrist a rest.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The 1992 agreement allows either party to pull out of the pact 12 months after providing formal written notice to the other side.’
      withdraw, resign, leave, retire, step down, get out, quit, back out, bow out
      View synonyms
      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’
        • ‘Pictures of hunger in Somalia beckoned U.S. troops in, pictures of American soldiers in 1993 pulled us out.’
        • ‘The President pulled them out and went to war anyway, over their objections.’
        • ‘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
        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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The doors closed and the train pulled out of the station.’
      • ‘I watched helplessly as my 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 or its driver) move to the side of or off the road.

      • ‘Currently, lorries pull over on the side of the road to unload and traffic passes around them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Edward stopped the car on a deserted stretch of road, pulling over to the side.’
      • ‘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
      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’
      • ‘I'm the police officer who pulled you over once because one of your taillights were out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Police pulled him over and administered a breathalyser test, which he failed.’
      • ‘The morning after we arrived we were caught up in a police road block where we were pulled over and questioned.’
  • 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’
      • ‘He lived with me in the first year and pulled me through all the difficult moments.’
      • ‘If you find yourself in a position where you hope for luck to pull you through, you're in serious trouble.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It gave them something sure to hold on to, to pull them through all the danger and hardship.’
      get better, get well again, improve, recover, rally, survive, come through, recuperate
      get over something
      be all right
      View synonyms
  • pull up

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

      ‘he pulled up outside the cabin’
      • ‘If I remember correctly, it was the sound of the ice-cream van pulling up outside my house.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was gobsmacked when the limo pulled up outside her home in Tattershall, Toothill.’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
    • 2Increase the altitude of an aircraft.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’
  • pull someone up

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

      ‘the shock of his words pulled her up short’
      • ‘We only moved on a few short steps before I stopped and pulled us up sharp.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He pulled her up short as he spotted a buggy approaching at a reckless speed.’
      • ‘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.’
      1. 1.1Reprimand someone.
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘It seems strange to pull someone up for being too polished (kinda like being stopped by a cop for being too good a driver).’
        • ‘Father would quiz us constantly and if we did not know the answers, we would be pulled up sharply.’
        • ‘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
        View synonyms


Old English pullian pluck, snatch; origin uncertain; the sense has developed from expressing a short sharp action to one of sustained force.