\ ˈpu̇l also ˈpəl \
pulled; pulling; pulls

Definition of pull 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to exert force upon so as to cause or tend to cause motion toward the force

b : to stretch (cooling candy) repeatedly pull taffy

c : to strain abnormally pull a tendon

d : to hold back (a racehorse) from winning

e : to work (an oar) by drawing back strongly

2a : to draw out from the skin pull feathers from a rooster's tail

b : to pluck from a plant or by the roots pull flowers pull turnips

c : extract pull a tooth

3 : to hit (a ball) toward the left from a right-handed swing or toward the right from a left-handed swing — compare push

4 : to draw apart : rend, tear

5 : to print (something, such as a proof) by impression

6a : to remove from a place or situation pull the engine pulled the pitcher in the third inning pulled the show

b : revoke If they're caught dumping, they'll get their license pulled. —Alexandra Alger

7 : to bring (a weapon) into the open pulled a knife

8a : perform, carry out pull an all-nighter pull guard duty

b : commit, perpetrate pull a robbery pull a prank

9a : put on, assume pull a grin

b : to act or behave in the manner of pulled a Horace Greely and went west —Steve Rushin

10a : to draw the support or attention of : attract pull votes often used with in

b : obtain, secure pulled a B in the course

11 : to demand or obtain an advantage over someone by the assertion of pull rank

intransitive verb

1a : to use force in drawing, dragging, or tugging

b : to move especially through the exercise of mechanical energy the car pulled clear of the rut

c(1) : to take a drink

(2) : to draw hard in smoking pulled at a pipe

d : to strain against the bit

2 : to draw a gun

3 : to admit of being pulled

4 : to feel or express strong sympathy : root pulling for my team to win

5 of an offensive lineman in football : to move back from the line of scrimmage and toward one flank to provide blocking for a ballcarrier

pull a face

: to make a face : grimace

pull a fast one

: to perpetrate a trick or fraud

pull oneself together

: to regain one's composure

pull one's leg

: to deceive someone playfully : hoax

pull one's weight

: to do one's full share of the work

pull punches or less commonly pull a punch

: to refrain from using all the force at one's disposal

pull stakes or pull up stakes

: to move out : leave

pull strings or less commonly pull wires

: to exert hidden influence or control

pull the plug

1 : to disconnect a medical life-support system

2 : to withdraw essential and especially financial support

pull the rug from under

: to weaken or unsettle especially by removing support or assistance from

pull the string

: to throw a changeup

pull the trigger

: to make a decisive move or action

pull the wool over one's eyes

: to blind to the true situation : hoodwink

pull together

: to work in harmony : cooperate


noun, often attributive

Definition of pull (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the act or an instance of pulling

b(1) : a draft of liquid

(2) : an inhalation of smoke

c : the effort expended in moving a long pull uphill

d : force required to overcome resistance to pulling a trigger with a four pound pull

e : a competition in which a heavily weighted sled is pulled by participants usually using draft animals or machines a tractor pull the county fair's annual ox pull The truck pull may be one one of the machine age's weirdest mutations. Modified pickup trucks and dragsters are hooked to trailers or "sleds" weighed down with 30,000 to 40,000 pounds … They rev up their engines and slog their way across a 200-foot mud track.

2a : advantage

b : special influence

4 : a device for pulling something or for operating by pulling a drawer pull

5 : a force that attracts, compels, or influences : attraction

6 : an injury resulting from abnormal straining or stretching a muscle pull a groin pull

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Other words from pull


puller noun

Examples of pull in a Sentence


He pulled the door open and ran out. The cat will scratch you if you keep pulling its tail. Make a knot in the rope and pull it tight. Pull the baby's chair closer to the table. She pulled the blanket over her head. We tried pushing and pulling but couldn't get the couch to move. Grab the end of the rope and pull as hard as you can. We spent the morning in the garden pulling weeds. I accidentally pulled one of the buttons off my shirt. He pulled the plug out of the socket.


She gave the door a few hard pulls and it opened. Give the rope a pull. He has a lot of pull in local political circles.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Coast Guard pulled two boaters from the water Saturday after their 24-foot boat capsized in the Florida Keys. Juan Ortega, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Two pulled to safety after their boat capsizes in Florida Keys," 14 July 2018 District-level staff pulled surveillance footage connected to the incident, as required by the use-of-force policy adopted two years ago, before identifying the incident for review by SIRT and eventually the state’s attorney. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "'I only ever wanted justice,' says 18-year-old allegedly assaulted by Baltimore officer," 14 July 2018 Image McDonald’s pulled salads from 3,000 restaurants in the Midwest after health experts announced that more than 100 people had been infected by an intestinal parasite in recent weeks. Matthew Haag, New York Times, "McDonald’s Removes Salads Linked to Intestinal Parasite Outbreak in Midwest," 13 July 2018 Yet Wil Myers’ imminent return from the disabled list pulled Reyes into Green’s office as the Padres prepared to leave for San Francisco last month. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres' Franmil Reyes savoring teachable moments," 13 July 2018 An Overland Park man allegedly pulled a gun from his waistband and fired a shot while Lenexa police were trying to arrest him. Tony Rizzo, kansascity, "Man charged with firing gun while fighting with Lenexa police," 13 July 2018 Then the teen pulled a gun on Jenkins and fatally shot him, according to DeKalb County police. Zachary Hansen, ajc, "Decatur man offered teen a job. Then the teen fatally shot him, police say," 12 July 2018 His detention pulled Germany into Spain’s greatest political crisis in decades and triggered minor spats of tension between two countries that have traditionally been strong allies. Jeannette Neumann, WSJ, "German Court Authorizes Extradition to Spain of Catalonia’s Former Leader," 12 July 2018 TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel website, pulled feedback from its users to assemble a list of the top burgers in the country. Caroline Blackmon, Detroit Free Press, "TripAdvisor: Traverse City eatery is 5th best place for burgers in US," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Bird became the Storm's all-time leading scorer with her 13th point of the game, passing Lauren Jackson (6,007) on a pull-up jumper with 7:33 left in the third quarter. baltimoresun.com, "Digest (July 8): 23-year-old jockey Jevian Toledo excelling at Laurel Park," 8 July 2018 Decent backup point guard option, who uses a pretty pull-up jumper to score effectively. azcentral, "Ranking top point guards in NBA free agency: Chris Paul, Isaiah Thomas, Rajon Rondo, more," 26 June 2018 The Ascent’s turbo’d and direct-injected flat four pulls like a hero: 260 hp at 5,600 rpm and class-leading 277 lb-ft between 2,000-4,800 rpm, a nice fat torque band. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Subaru Ascent: A Bigger, Better Family SUV," 12 July 2018 This moment of magical realism illustrates the close relationship residents of Fire Island, New York, have with the elements—the sand, the ocean, and, yes, the sun—and the pull of the outdoors there. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "A Fire Island house brings the spirit of sand and surf indoors," 9 July 2018 The pull-and-tug in Florida's minority party was subtle Saturday as party leaders met in Hollywood for their annual leadership conference. David Smiley, miamiherald, "Florida Democrats look for depth and clarity in the blue wave," 30 June 2018 Fun run, parade, car show, antique tractor pull, arts and crafts, games, food, fireworks. Michelle Jenkins, idahostatesman, "Big July Calendar: Month is lit with fireworks, comic con and the Canyon County Fair," 28 June 2018 Over the last few years, lease pull-ahead programs have gotten very popular with automakers, and are just another form of an incentive. Jerry Reynolds, Houston Chronicle, "Make an informed decision on pull-ahead lease offers," 23 June 2018 Our bodies have a basic circuitry—the basic push-pull, up-down of how chi, or energy, moves in the body. Abigail Barronian, Outside Online, "Traditional Chinese Medicine Holds the Secret to Heath," 1 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pull.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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History and Etymology for pull


Middle English, from Old English pullian; akin to Middle Low German pulen to shell, cull

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Statistics for pull

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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More Definitions for pull



English Language Learners Definition of pull

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to hold onto and move (someone or something) in a particular direction and especially toward yourself

: to remove (something) by gripping it and using force

: to cause (something you are holding or something that is attached to you) to move with you as you go in a particular direction



English Language Learners Definition of pull (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of moving or trying to move something by holding it and bringing it toward you : the act of pulling something

: special influence and power over other people

: an ability or power to attract someone or to make someone want to go somewhere, do something, etc.


\ ˈpu̇l \
pulled; pulling

Kids Definition of pull

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to use force on so as to cause movement toward the force pulled the rope pulling a wagon

2 : to separate from a firm or a natural attachment pull a tooth pull weeds

3 : move entry 1 sense 1 A train pulled out of the station.

4 : to draw apart : tear, rend I pulled a flower to pieces.

5 : to move (something) up or down Pull down the shade.

6 : to operate by drawing toward Going against the current, he had to pull the oars harder.

7 : to stretch repeatedly pull taffy

pull through

: to survive a difficult or dangerous period She was seriously ill, but pulled through.



Kids Definition of pull (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or an instance of grasping and causing to move two pulls on the cord

2 : a device for making something move

3 : a force that draws one body toward another the pull of gravity

\ ˈpu̇l \

Medical Definition of pull 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : extract sense 1 pull a tooth

2 : to strain or stretch abnormally pull a tendon pull a muscle



Medical Definition of pull (Entry 2 of 2)

: an injury resulting from abnormal straining or stretching especially of a muscle — see groin pull

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Comments on pull

What made you want to look up pull? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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