Definition of push verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary




using hands/arms/body

1 [intransitive, transitive] to use your hands, arms, or body in order to make someone or something move forward or away from you; to move part of your body into a particular positionWe pushed and pushed but the piano wouldn't move.Push hard when I tell you to.You push and I'll pull. push at somethingShe pushed at the door but it wouldn't budge. push somethingHe walked slowly up the hill pushing his bike. push someone/something + adverb/prepositionShe pushed the cup toward me.He pushed his chair back and stood up.He tried to kiss her but she pushed him away.She pushed her face toward him. push something + adjectiveI pushed the door open.2 [intransitive, transitive] to use force to move past someone or something using your hands, arms, etc.People were pushing and shoving to get to the front. + adverb/prepositionThe fans pushed against the barrier. push your way + adverb/prepositionTry and push your way through the crowd.

affect something

3 [transitive] push something + adverb/preposition to affect something so that it reaches a particular level or stateThis development could push the country into recession.The rise in interest rates will push prices up.


4 [transitive] push something to press a switch, button, etc., for example in order to make a machine start workingI pushed the button for the top floor.


5 [transitive] to persuade or encourage someone to do something that they may not want to do push someone (into something/into doing something)My teacher pushed me into entering the competition. push someone to do somethingNo one pushed you to take the job, did they?

work hard

6 [transitive] push someone/yourself to make someone work hardThe music teacher really pushes her students.Lucy should push herself a little harder.

put pressure on someone

7 [transitive] push someone (+ adverb/preposition) (informal) to put pressure on someone and make them angry or upsetHer parents are very tolerant, but sometimes she pushes them too far.

new idea/product

8 [transitive] push something (informal) to try hard to persuade people to accept or agree with a new idea, buy a new product, etc.The interview gave him a chance to push his latest movie.She didn't want to push the point any further at that moment.

sell drugs

9 [transitive] push something (informal) to sell illegal drugs

of army

10 [intransitive] + adverb/preposition to move forward quickly through an areaThe army pushed (on) toward the capital.

be pushing 40, 50, etc.

(informal) to be nearly 40, 50, etc. years oldbe pushing 40, 50, etc.

be pushing up (the) daisies

(old-fashioned, humorous) to be dead and in a gravebe pushing up daisiesbe pushing up the daisies

hit/press/push the panic button

to react in a sudden or extreme way to something unexpected that has frightened you
The government pressed the panic button yesterday as the economy plunged deeper into crisis.hit/push the panic buttonpress/push the panic button

push all the (right) buttons

(informal) to do exactly the right things to please someonea new satirical comedy show that pushes all the right buttonspush all the buttonspush all the right buttons

push someone's buttons

(informal) to make someone react in either a positive or a negative wayI've known him for years, but I still don't know what pushes his buttons.push buttons

push the envelope

(informal) to go beyond the limits of what is allowed or thought to be possibleHe is a performer who consistently pushes the envelope of TV comedy.push the envelope

push your luck


push it/things

(informal) to take a risk because you have successfully avoided problems in the pastYou didn't get caught last time, but don't push your luck!push your luck

push something to the back of your mind

to try to forget about something unpleasant
I tried to push the thought to the back of my mind.push to the back of your mind

push ahead/forward (with something)

to continue with a plan in a determined wayThe government is pushing ahead with its electoral reforms.push aheadpush ahead withpush forwardpush forward with

push someone around

to give orders to someone in a rude or unpleasant waypush around

push somethingaside

to avoid thinking about somethingHe pushed aside the feelings of fear.push aside

push something back

to make the time or date of a meeting, etc. later than originally plannedThe start of the game was pushed back from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.push back

push for something


push someone for something

to repeatedly ask for something or try to make something happen because you think it is very important.The pressure group is pushing for a ban on GM foods.I'm going to have to push you for an answer.push for

push forward

to continue moving or traveling somewhere, especially when it is a long distance or difficultpush forward

push yourself/someone forward

to make other people think about and notice you or someone elseShe had to push herself forward to get a promotion.push yourself forward

push off

to move away from land in a boat, or from the side of a swimming pool, etc.push off

push on

to continue with a journey or an activityWe rested for a while then pushed on to the next camp.push on

push someoneout

to make someone leave a place or an organizationpush out

push someone/somethingout

to make something less important than it was; to replace somethingpush out

push somethingout

to produce something in large quantitiesfactories pushing out cheap cotton shirtspush out

push someone/something over

to make someone or something fall to the ground by pushing themSam pushed me over in the playground. see also pushoverpush over

push somethingthrough

to get a new law or plan officially acceptedThe government is pushing the changes through before the election.push through