American English

Definition of pull verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they pull
    he / she / it pulls
    past simple pulled
    -ing form pulling
    jump to other results
    move/remove something
  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to hold something firmly and use force in order to move it or try to move it toward yourself You push and I'll pull. Don't pull so hard or the handle will come off. pull at/on something I pulled on the rope to see if it was secure. pull something Stop pulling her hair! pull somebody/something + adv./prep. She pulled him gently toward her. pull something + adj. Pull the door shut.
  2. 2[transitive] pull something (+ adv./prep.) to remove something from a place by pulling Pull the plug out. She pulled off her boots. He pulled a gun on me (= took out a gun and aimed it at me).
  3. 3[transitive] pull somebody/something + adv./prep. to move someone or something in a particular direction by pulling Pull your chair closer to the table. He pulled on his sweater. She took his arm and pulled him along.
  4. 4[transitive] pull something to hold or be attached to something and move it along behind you In this area oxen are used to pull carts.
  5. body
  6. 5[intransitive, transitive] to move your body or a part of your body in a particular direction, especially using force + adv./prep. He tried to kiss her but she pulled away. pull something/yourself + adv./prep. The dog snapped at her and she quickly pulled back her hand. pull something/yourself + adj. John pulled himself free and ran off.
  7. curtains
  8. 6[transitive] pull something to open or close curtains, etc. synonym draw Pull the curtains—it's dark outside.
  9. muscle
  10. 7[transitive] pull something to damage a muscle, etc. by using too much force to pull a muscle/ligament/tendon Thesaurusinjurewound hurt bruise sprain pull strainThese words all mean to harm yourself or someone else physically, especially in an accident.injure to harm yourself or someone else physically, especially in an accident:He injured his knee playing hockey. Three people were injured in the crash.wound [often passive] (somewhat formal) to injure part of the body, especially by making a hole in the skin using a weapon:Two people were killed and dozens more wounded in the attack. Wound is often used to talk about people being hurt in war or in other attacks which affect a lot of people.hurt (somewhat informal) to cause physical pain to someone or yourself; to injure someone or yourself:Did you hurt yourself?injure or hurt?You can hurt or injure a part of the body in an accident. Hurt emphasizes the physical pain caused;injure emphasizes that the part of the body has been damaged in some way.bruise to make a blue, brown, or purple mark (= a bruise) appear on the skin after someone has fallen or been hit; to develop a bruisesprain to injure part of your body, especially your ankle, wrist, or knee, by suddenly bending it in an awkward way, causing pain and swellingpull to damage a muscle, etc., by using too much forcestrain to injure yourself or part of your body by making it work too hard:Don't strain your eyes by reading in poor light.Patterns to injure/hurt/strain yourself to injure/hurt/pull/strain a muscle to injure/hurt/sprain your ankle/knee/wrist to injure/hurt/strain your back/shoulder/eyes to injure/hurt your spine/neck to be badly/severely/slightly injured/wounded/hurt/bruised/sprained
  11. switch
  12. 8[transitive] pull something to move a switch, etc. toward yourself or down in order to operate a machine or piece of equipment Pull the lever to start the motor. Don't pull the trigger!
  13. vehicle/engine
  14. 9[intransitive, transitive] pull (something) to the right/the left/one side to move or make a vehicle move sideways The wheel is pulling to the left. She pulled the car to the right to avoid the dog.
  15. 10[intransitive] (of an engine) to work hard and use a lot of power The old car pulled hard as we drove slowly up the hill.
  16. boat
  17. 11[intransitive, transitive] pull (something) (+ adv./prep.) to use oars to move a boat along They pulled toward the shore.
  18. crowd/support
  19. 12[transitive] pull somebody/something (in) to attract the interest or support of someone or something They pulled in huge crowds on their latest tour.
  20. trick/crime
  21. 13[transitive] pull something (informal) to succeed in playing a trick on someone, committing a crime, etc. He's pulling some sort of trick on you.
  22. cancel
  23. 14[transitive] pull something (informal) to cancel an event; to stop showing an advertisement, etc. The gig was pulled at the last moment.
  24. Thesauruspulldrag draw haul tow tugThese words all mean to move something in a particular direction, especially toward or behind you.pull to hold something and move it in a particular direction; to hold or be attached to a vehicle and move it along behind you:Pull the chair closer to the table. They use horses to pull their carts.drag to pull someone or something in a particular direction or behind you, usually along the ground, and especially with effort:The sack is too heavy to lift—you'll have to drag it.draw (formal) to move someone or something by pulling them/it gently; to pull a vehicle such as a carriage:I drew my chair closer to the fire. a horse-drawn carriagehaul to pull someone or something to a particular place with a lot of effort:Liz hauled her suitcase up the stairs.drag or haul?You usually drag something behind you along the ground; you usually haul something toward you, often upward toward you. Dragging something often needs effort, but hauling something always does.tow to pull a car, boat, or light plane behind another vehicle, using a rope or chain:Our car was towed away by the police.tug to pull someone or something hard in a particular direction:The boy tugged at his father's sleeve.Patterns to pull/drag/draw/haul/tow somebody/something along/down/toward something to pull/drag/draw/haul/tow somebody/something behind you to pull/drag/draw/haul a cart/sled to pull/draw a coach/carriage to pull/haul/tow a trailer horses pull/draw/haul something dogs pull/drag/haul somethingIdioms
    draw/pull your horns in
    jump to other results
    to start being more careful in your behavior, especially by spending less money than before Small businesses have had to pull their horns in during the recession.
    pick/pull/tear somebody/something to pieces/shreds (informal)
    jump to other results
    to criticize someone, or their work or ideas, very severely
    pick/pull/tear somebody/something to pieces/shreds (informal)
    jump to other results
    to criticize someone, or their work or ideas, very severely
    pull a fast one (on somebody) (slang)
    jump to other results
    to trick someone
    pull in different/opposite directions
    jump to other results
    to have different aims that cannot be achieved together without causing problems
    pull somebody's leg (informal)
    jump to other results
    to play a joke on someone, usually by making them believe something that is not true
    pull out all the stops (informal)
    jump to other results
    to make the greatest effort possible to achieve something
    pull the plug on somebody/something (informal)
    jump to other results
    to put an end to someone's project, a plan, etc. The television station pulled the plug on the series after only five episodes.
    pull your punches (informal)
    jump to other results
    (usually used in negative sentences) to express something less strongly than you are able to, for example to avoid upsetting or shocking someone Her articles certainly don't pull any punches.
    pull something/a rabbit out of the hat (informal)
    jump to other results
    to suddenly produce something as a solution to a problem
    pull rank (on somebody)
    jump to other results
    to make use of your place or status in society or at work to make someone do what you want
    pull the rug (out) from under somebody's feet (informal)
    jump to other results
    to take help or support away from someone suddenly
    pull strings (for somebody) (also pull wires) (informal)
    jump to other results
    to use your influence in order to get an advantage for someone
    pull the strings
    jump to other results
    to control events or the actions of other people
    pull up stakes
    jump to other results
    to suddenly move from your house and go to live somewhere else He pulled up stakes and went back to Kentucky.
    pull your weight
    jump to other results
    to work as hard as everyone else in a job, an activity, etc.
    pull the wool over somebody's eyes (informal)
    jump to other results
    to try to trick someone; to hide your real actions or intentions from someone
    pull yourself up by your (own) bootstraps (informal)
    jump to other results
    to improve your situation yourself, without help from other people
    Phrasal Verbspull ahead (of somebody/something)pull somebody/something apartpull something apartpull at somethingpull away (from something)pull backpull somebodybackpull somebody downpull somethingdownpull somebodyinpull somethingin/downpull in (to something)pull offpull somethingoffpull on/at somethingpull outpull out (of something)pull somebody/something out (of something)pull overpull somebody/somethingoverpull throughpull somebody throughpull togetherpull uppull yourself together
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: pull