pull1 W1S1 [pul] v
1¦(move something towards you)¦
3¦(make something follow you)¦
4¦(take something out)¦
6¦(move your body)¦
8 pull strings
9 pull the/somebody's strings
11 pull somebody's leg
12 pull the other one (it's got bells on)
14 pull the curtains/blinds
15¦(crowd/votes etc)¦
17¦(sexually attract)¦
18¦(stop event)¦
19 pull somebody's licence
20¦(stop a vehicle)¦
22 something is like pulling teeth
24 pull a punch
26¦(row a boat)¦
Phrasal verbs
 pull ahead
 pull apart
 pull at/on something
 pull away
 pull back
 pull down
 pull for somebody/something
 pull in
 pull off
 pull on something
 pull out
 pull over
 pull (somebody) through
 pull together
 pull up
[: Old English; Origin: pullian]
to use your hands to make something or someone move towards you or in the direction that your hands are moving
≠ ↑push
Mom! Davey's pulling my hair!
pull sb/sth into/away from/over etc sth
He pulled her down into her seat.
pull sth open/shut
She pulled open the door and hurried inside.
2.) ¦(REMOVE)¦ [T]
to use force to take something from the place where it is fixed or held
She has to have two teeth pulled.
pull sth out/off/away etc
Vicky had pulled the arm off her doll.
to be attached to something or hold something and make it move behind you in the direction you are going
a tractor pulling a trailer
4.) ¦(TAKE SOMETHING OUT)¦ [T always + adverb/preposition]
to take something out of a bag, pocket etc with your hand
He pulled out his wallet and said 'let me pay'.
Ben pulled a pen from his pocket.
pull a gun/knife (on sb)
(=take one out, ready to use it)
5.) ¦(CLOTHING)¦ [T always + adverb/preposition]
to put on or take off a piece of clothing, usually quickly
pull on/off/up/down etc
He pulled off his damp shirt.
a) [I,T always + adverb/preposition]
to move your body or part of your body away from someone or something
pull sth away/free
She tried to pull her hand free, but it was held fast.
pull sth out of/from sth
She struggled fiercely, trying to pull her arm out of his grasp.
pull away/back
She pulled away from him.
b) pull yourself up/to your feet etc
to hold onto something and use your strength to move your body towards it
Benny pulled himself up from the floor with difficulty.
7.) ¦(MUSCLE)¦ [T]
to injure one of your muscles by stretching it too much during physical activity
= ↑strain
Paul pulled a muscle trying to lift the freezer.
8.) pull strings
to secretly use your influence with important people in order to get what you want or to help someone else
Francis pulled strings to get him out of trouble.
9.) pull the/sb's strings
to control something or someone, especially when you are not the person who is supposed to be controlling them
It was widely believed that Montagu was secretly pulling the strings behind the prime minister.
10.)¦(TRICK/CRIME)¦ [T] informal
to succeed in doing something illegal or dishonest or in playing a trick on someone
The gang have pulled another bank robbery.
He was trying to pull a fast one (=deceive you) when he told you he'd paid.
pull a stunt/trick/joke
Don't you ever pull a stunt like that again!
11.) pull sb's leg
to tell someone something that is not true, as a joke
I haven't won, have I? You're pulling my leg.
12.) pull the other one (it's got bells on)
BrE spoken used to tell someone that you think they are joking or not telling the truth
Your dad's a racing driver? Pull the other one!
13.) ¦(SWITCH)¦ [T]
to move a control such as a switch, ↑lever, or ↑trigger towards you to make a piece of equipment work
She raised the gun, and pulled the trigger.
14.) pull the curtains/blinds
to open or close curtains or ↑blinds
It was already getting dark so he pulled the curtains.
15.) ¦(CROWD/VOTES ETC)¦ [T]
if an event, performer etc pulls crowds or a politician pulls a lot of votes, a lot of people come to see them or vote for them
Muhammad Ali can still pull the crowds.
to attract or influence someone or their thoughts or feelings
The city's reputation for a clean environment has pulled new residents from other states.
17.) ¦(SEXUALLY ATTRACT)¦ [I and T]
BrE spoken to attract someone in order to have sex with them or spend the evening with them
He knew he could pull any girl he wanted.
18.) ¦(STOP EVENT)¦ [T]
to stop a planned event from taking place
They pulled the concert.
19.) pull sb's licence informal
to take away someone's ↑licence to do something, especially to drive a car, because they have done something wrong
20.)¦(STOP A VEHICLE)¦ [I and T]
to drive a vehicle somewhere and stop; to stop somewhere
pull sth into/towards/down etc sth
She pulled the car into a side street.
The bus pulled to a halt .
21.) ¦(CAR)¦
if a car pulls to the left or right as you are driving, it moves in that direction because of a problem with its machinery
22.) sth is like pulling teeth
used to say that it is very difficult or unpleasant to persuade someone to do something
Getting him to do his homework is like pulling teeth.
23.) ¦(BEER)¦ [T]
[i]BrE to get beer out of a ↑barrel by pulling a handle
The barman laughed and began to pull a couple of pints.
24.) pull a punch
to deliberately hit someone with less force than you could do, so that it hurts less
not pull any punches atpunch2 (6)
to hit the ball in ↑cricket, golf, or baseball so that it does not go straight but moves to one side
26.) ¦(ROW A BOAT)¦ [I and T]
to make a boat move by using ↑oars
pull/make a face atface1 (2), pull your finger out atfinger1 (12), pull rank (on sb) atrank1 (5), pull the rug (out) from under sb's feet atrug, pull the plug (on sth) atplug1 (5)
pull your socks up atsock1 (3)
pull your weight atweight1 (12)
pull the wool over sb's eyes atwool
pull ahead phr v
if one vehicle pulls ahead of another, it gets in front of it by moving faster
Schumacher pulled ahead of Montoya as the two drivers approached the first corner of the race.
pull apart phr v
1.) pull sth<=>apart
to separate something into pieces
Pull the meat apart with two forks.
2.) pull sb<=>apart
to make the relationships between people in a group bad or difficult
His drinking pulled the family apart.
3.) pull sth<=>apart
to carefully examine or criticize something
The selection committee pulled each proposal apart.
4.) pull sb/sth<=>apart
to separate people or animals when they are fighting
The fight ended only when the referee pulled the two players apart.
5.) if something pulls apart, it breaks into pieces when you pull on it
pull at/on [pull at/on sth] phr v
1.) to take hold of something and pull it several times
Mary was pulling nervously at her hair.
2.) to take smoke from a pipe or cigarette into your lungs
He pulled hard on the cigarette.
3.) to take a long drink from a bottle or glass
pull away phr v
1.) to start to drive away from a place where you had stopped
He waved as he pulled away.
2.) to move ahead of a competitor by going faster or being more successful
pull away from
Nkoku is pulling away from the other runners.
pull back phr v
1.) to decide not to do or become involved in something
pull back from
In the end, he pulled back from financing the film.
2.) to get out of a bad situation or dangerous place, or to make someone else do this
pull back from
Many banks are pulling back from international markets.
pull sb<=>back
They are preparing to pull back their forces.
3.) pull sth<=>back
BrE if a team that is losing pulls back a ↑goal or some points, it succeeds in scoring a goal or some points
Our play improved and we pulled back two goals.
pull down phr v
1.) pull sth<=>down
to destroy something or make it stop existing
My old school was pulled down.
2.) pull down sth
to earn a particular amount of money
Real estate stocks pulled down total returns of 35.7 percent.
3.) pull sb down
to make someone less successful, happy, or healthy
Her problems have really pulled her down.
4.) pull down a menu
to make a computer program show you a list of the things it can do
pull for / [pull for sb/sth] phr v
informal to encourage a person or team to succeed
The crowd were pulling for me to do well.
pull in phr v
1.) if a driver pulls in, they move to the side of the road and stop
She pulled in to let the ambulance pass.
2.) if a train pulls in, it arrives at a station
≠ ↑pull out
3.) pull sb/sth<=>in
to attract business, money, people etc
a publicity stunt to pull in the crowds
4.) pull in sth informal
if you pull in a lot of money, you earn it
5.) pull sb<=>in
if a police officer pulls someone in, they take them to a police station because they think that person may have done something wrong
pull off phr v
1.) pull sth<=>off informal
to succeed in doing something difficult
The goalkeeper pulled off six terrific saves.
2.) pull off (sth)
to drive a car off a road in order to stop, or to turn into a smaller road
We pulled off the road to get some food.
pull on [pull on sth] phr v
to pull at something
pull out phr v
a) to drive onto a road from another road or from where you have stopped
Don't pull out! There's something coming.
b) to drive over to a different part of the road in order to get past a vehicle in front of you
I pulled out to overtake a bus.
2.) if a train pulls out, it leaves a station
≠ ↑pull in
3.) to stop doing or being involved in something, or to make someone do this
McDermott pulled out with an injury at the last minute.
pull out of
They are trying to pull out of the agreement.
pull sb out of sth
He threatened to pull his son out of the team.
4.) to get out of a bad situation or dangerous place, or to make someone or something do this
Jim saw that the firm was going to be ruined, so he pulled out.
pull sb/sth<=>out
Most of the troops have been pulled out.
pull out of
when the country was still pulling out of a recession
pull out all the stops atstop2 (7)
pull over phr v
to drive to the side of the road and stop your car, or to make someone else do this
The policeman signalled to him to pull over.
pull sb/sth<=>over
He pulled the car over.
A cop pulled him over and gave him a speeding ticket.
pull () through [pull (sb) through] phr v
1.) to stay alive after you have been very ill or badly injured, or to help someone do this
His injuries are severe but he's expected to pull through.
bring (sb) through atbring
2.) to succeed in doing something very difficult, or to help someone to do this
He relied on his experience to pull him through.
pull together phr v
1.) if a group of people pull together, they all work hard to achieve something
If we all pull together, we'll finish on time.
2.) pull yourself together
to force yourself to stop behaving in a nervous, frightened, or uncontrolled way
With an effort Mary pulled herself together.
3.) pull sth together
to improve something by organizing it more effectively
We need an experienced manager to pull the department together.
pull up phr v
1.) to stop the vehicle that you are driving
He pulled up in front of the gates.
2.) pull up a chair/stool etc
to get a chair, etc and sit down next to someone who is already sitting
3.) pull sb up
especially BrE to stop someone who is doing something wrong and tell them you do not approve
pull somebody up on
I felt I had to pull her up on her lateness.
pull sb up short atshort2 (7)
pull 2
pull2 n
1¦(act of moving something)¦
an act of using force to move something towards you or in the same direction that you are moving
≠ ↑push
He gave her a sharp pull forward.
2.) ¦(FORCE)¦ [C usually singular]
a strong physical force that makes things move in a particular direction
the gravitational pull of the moon
3.) ¦(ATTRACTION)¦ [C usually singular]
the ability to attract someone or have a powerful effect on them
pull of
After about a year I gave in to the pull of fatherhood.
4.) ¦(INFLUENCE)¦ [singular,U] informal
special influence or power over other people
His family's name gives him a lot of pull in this town.
5.) ¦(CLIMB)¦ [singular]
BrE a difficult climb up a steep road
It was a long pull up the hill.
6.) ¦(MUSCLE)¦ [C usually singular]
an injury to one of your muscles, caused by stretching it too much during exercise
a groin pull
an act of taking the smoke from a cigarette, pipe etc into your ↑lungs or of taking a long drink of something
pull on/at
She took a long pull on her cigarette.
8.) ¦(HANDLE)¦
a rope or handle that you use to pull something
He popped the ring pull on another can of lager.
a way of hitting the ball in ↑cricket, golf, or baseball so that it does not go straight, but moves to one side

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.


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