\ ˈpu̇l How to pronounce pull (audio) also ˈpəl How to pronounce pull (audio) \
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.
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

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of pull in a Sentence

Verb 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. Noun 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 administration’s overt actions that led to the lawsuit, Johnson said, include the president issuing a memo early last month threatening to pull funding from cities experiencing Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Henry Goldman, Bloomberg.com, "NYC, Seattle and Portland Sue Trump on Funding Threat," 22 Oct. 2020 The employee and Cornejo tried to pull the man out from under the dock with a cord of sorts, but the man let go. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Police officer jumps in San Diego Bay, rescues man who had fallen off personal watercraft," 14 Oct. 2020 President Trump’s reported plans to pull U.S. troops from Somalia were not warmly embraced by U.S. Africa Command, which reacted hesitantly and underscored al Shabaab's continued terrorist threat to the American homeland. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "'Al Shabaab presents a future threat to America' says AFRICOM after Trump Somalia plans made public," 14 Oct. 2020 Credit Suisse has been reorganizing and integrating units in an effort to pull more revenue from its rich clients by offering them access to deals and other business handled through Credit Suisse’s investment bank. Margot Patrick, WSJ, "Credit Suisse Hires Veteran Meissner to Lead New Unit Serving Wealthy Clients," 13 Oct. 2020 In many ways, the show wasn’t afraid to keep moving forward and to keep introducing new ideas [and] to pull the rug out from under the audience in regards to any expectations. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, "Supernatural send-off: Julian Richings looks back on Death's chilling debut," 12 Oct. 2020 Bodies are frequently tagged now before burial to make sure they can be identified if the waters pull the caskets out from mausoleums. Brinley Hineman, USA TODAY, "'How lonely this place is going to be': Can a Louisiana town recover after yet another hurricane?," 12 Oct. 2020 The first interceptor went to work in Jakarta, Indonesia, to pull plastic from a waterway called the Cengkareng drain. Christopher Dawson, CNN, "A Dutch inventor is cleaning the world's most polluted rivers in an effort to save the oceans," 9 Oct. 2020 That’s different from most Twin Cities suburbs, which pull water from wells tapped into aquifers. Eric Roper, Star Tribune, "How do cities make Mississippi River water safe to drink?," 9 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The move was a chance to leave his troubles behind — the constant harassment by police, the discrimination against felons in the labor market, the downward pull of his old neighborhood. Washington Post, "How systemic racism shaped Floyd’s life and hobbled his ambition," 8 Oct. 2020 It was determined that the garage's door pull had been tied in that shape months earlier, and no charges were filed. Jordan Freiman, CBS News, "Bubba Wallace to race for Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin in 2021 NASCAR Cup Series," 21 Sep. 2020 There’s a constant push-pull between the stream of plasma and the magnetic field, and the nature of burning hot matter means the plasma is swirling and circulating even within the stream. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Fusion Has an Efficiency Problem. This Science May Solve It.," 24 July 2020 There has always been a push-pull between regional and national. Ted Anthony, The Denver Post, "In coronavirus times, have Americans found a shared experience?," 30 Mar. 2020 That example illustrates the strong pull of mean reversion. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Big Tech is suffering from ‘mean reversion.’ And the downdraft isn’t over yet," 26 Sep. 2020 Even those with ambitions beyond modeling — like Elizabeth Siddal, probably the most famous Pre-Raphaelite muse, a talented painter and poet in her own right — could never quite escape the gravitational pull of the brotherhood’s fame. Randy Kennedy, New York Times, "A Pandemic-Appropriate Show Ends Its Run in a Newport Cemetery," 24 Sep. 2020 But this absence of hard statutory foundation is, for Messrs. Sunstein and Vermeule, evidence of the natural, though invisible, gravitational pull of administrative law’s morality. Adam J. White, WSJ, "‘Law & Leviathan’ Review: Self-Government Minus the Self," 23 Sep. 2020 The heavier water then sinks under the downward pull of gravity, and the flows gradually form karst topographies. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Mathematicians may have unlocked the secret of how “stone forests” form," 16 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for pull

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pull

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pull.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pull. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for pull


How to pronounce pull (audio) How to pronounce pull (audio)

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 How to pronounce pull (audio) \
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 How to pronounce pull (audio) \

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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