\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

Synonyms & Antonyms for pull

Synonyms: Verb

drag, draw, hale, haul, lug, tow, tug

Synonyms: Noun

draw, haul, jerk, pluck, tug, wrench, yank

Antonyms: Verb

drive, propel, push

Antonyms: Noun


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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

Britain’s largest wireless carrier, BT Group , this week pulled Huawei from its network core, which is used to transfer calls and internet traffic. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Education of Huawei," 6 Dec. 2018 Disney — along with its soon-to-be purchased Fox — is launching its streaming service, Disney+, next year and pulling its content, including Pixar and Marvel films, from Netflix. Rani Molla, Recode, "Here’s what happens when the big media companies take their content off Netflix," 5 Dec. 2018 The minivan performed smoothly, even stopping for a jaywalker, before abruptly pulling to the right side of the road. Michael Liedtke, The Seattle Times, "Google’s robotic spinoff launches ride-hailing service," 5 Dec. 2018 At the beginning of the night, Kardashian West emerged with her long brown lengths pulled loosely to the side, freeing her back for the whole world to see. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West’s Best Date Night Accessory Is a Finely Sculpted Back," 4 Dec. 2018 Soltero took over work on Cortana, one of the original digital assistants, at a time when rivals Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant arguably pulled way ahead in terms of product sophistication. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Goodbye, Cortana: Microsoft's Javier Soltero leaves, putting the digital assistant's future in doubt," 6 Nov. 2018 The bomb sent to CNN’s office was removed by the NYPD using a total containment vessel (TCV), a giant sphere made of lead and steel that’s pulled by an NYPD truck. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "The Technology of Pipe Bombs and Suspicious Packages, Explained," 25 Oct. 2018 But the latest Final Jeopardy stunt pulled by Erik Agard might just be even more epic than than that iconic moment. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Jeopardy!' Contestant Trolled Alex Trebek So Hard on the Show (and Still Won!)," 23 Oct. 2018 The footage shows police breaking a window and pulling the woman out. Fox News, "Dramatic video shows police pulling woman from car sinking in Texas lake," 2 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Known for her signature polished updos and sleek pull-backs, Victoria Beckham is not one to be spotted with a hair out of place. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Victoria Beckham Has a Major Wind Machine Hair Moment in New York City," 28 Nov. 2018 And with Thanksgiving only three weeks away, don't forget to inspect your fire extinguisher for any signs of corrosion, missing pull-pins, and/or changes in the pressure gauge. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Why You Need to Check Your Smoke Detectors During Daylight Saving," 2 Nov. 2018 The lat pull with long bar works the same as a normal lat pull, but the wide grip allows her to focus in more on the lats while adding in some variety. Leah Prinzivalli, SELF, "Jennifer Lopez's 8-Move Arm and Back Workout Is a Total-Body Challenge," 5 Oct. 2018 Finding ways to dodge the internet’s toxic pull can feel like a full time job of its own. Carrie Battan, Harper's BAZAAR, "Escaping the Seduction of Your Smartphone," 26 July 2018 Not just for kids Forget the arm floaties and inner tubes from summer camp. Experimenting with tools like pull buoys, paddles, kickboards, fins, and snorkels can be really beneficial for your overall performance. Emily Abbate, GQ, "Watch Ryan Gosling Go Swimming in his Ralph Lauren Suit," 26 June 2018 Leslie FambriniPersonalized Travel ConsultantsFambrini has major pull with luxury lines, including Crystal, Paul Gauguin, Silversea, and Windstar. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "2018 Top Travel Specialists We Trust," 19 Oct. 2018 But the hardest thing to do with a wooden bat is get behind it and drive it to our pull side. Dave Melton, Post-Tribune, "Fit to be Tyler: Hobart’s Tyler Kenjic getting back into swing of things for Northwest Indiana Oilmen," 8 June 2018 Getting it back, hitting coach Matt Stairs said, could be as simple as shifting a right-center approach toward his pull side, a point of emphasis this week during early hitting on the field. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Jose Pirela working to lift himself out of funk," 11 May 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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First Known Use of pull


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pull

The first known use of pull was before the 12th century

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on pull

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pull

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pull

Spanish Central: Translation of pull

Nglish: Translation of pull for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pull for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pull

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).


to make faulty or ineffective

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