\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

McDonald’s has pulled the salads from its menu at more than 3,000 locations, following the outbreak that’s sickened at least 54 people in six states, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska. Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin included in Cyclospora outbreak tied to McDonald's salads," 14 July 2018 Then pull the tweezers away from your skin with consistent force the entire time. Kate Sheridan, SELF, "Here’s Exactly What to Do if a Tick Bites You," 14 July 2018 Americans’ cellphone bills are rising for the first time in nearly two years as wireless service providers pull back on promotions. Sarah Krouse, WSJ, "Cellphone Bills Go Up for First Time in Nearly Two Years," 13 July 2018 That signals Russian acceptance that at least some of those forces should pull back. Washington Post, "Analysis: Iran role in Syria key item at Trump-Putin summit," 13 July 2018 On occasion, she's been known to stray from her signature style: the few times Eugenie has attended royal weddings as a guest, she's worn her brown locks pulled back into an updo. Kara Thompson, Town & Country, "How Will Princess Eugenie Wear Her Hair on Her Wedding Day?," 7 July 2018 The Ant-Man movies offer glimpses of what Hank Pym's life pre-Ant-Man was like, and this four-parter from the late '80s pulls the curtain back even more in a surreal and wonderful way: Cold War drama! Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "5 Comics You Should Read Before Seeing Ant-Man and the Wasp," 4 July 2018 Eventually, McMaster would pull aside the president and walk him through the dangers of an invasion, the official said. Joshua Goodman, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump pressed aides on Venezuela invasion, US official says," 4 July 2018 Cattails huddled against the shoreline, and paddles pulled the water back to move the canoe forward. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "DNR hosts free events for public to explore Lake Michigan Water Trail," 1 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Levine’s jewelry has a sentimental pull to it as well. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Summer’s Most Charming Bags Are Made in India, Inspired by Japan, and Arriving in New York Today," 25 June 2018 The dish was a little weird, a little wonderful — and had a similar pull to that subtle, sweet acid of balsamic that was haunting me. Evan Kleiman, latimes.com, "Just in time for summer: A sweet twist to risotto with peaches," 8 June 2018 The dancers seemed to still be settling into Mr. Lubovitch’s fluid movement, which has a downward pull more buoyant than Graham’s. Siobhan Burke, New York Times, "Review: For the Martha Graham Company, Opposites Attract," 12 Apr. 2018 Martin Garrix, meanwhile, has hefty EDM pull, so that should draw. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "In Bloom is sprouting, but do we need another music festival?," 21 Mar. 2018 His story of navigating poverty and homelessness while resisting the dark allure of drugs and gangs had an irresistible pull. Patrick Z. Mcgavin, Chicago Reader, "State basketball powerhouse Orr Academy’s incredible rise to glory bared in gripping new film," 12 Mar. 2018 But music is different: Apart from the concentration of rights ownership, new albums don’t have the same marketing pull as a new TV series. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Why Spotify Won’t Be the Netflix of Music," 6 Mar. 2018 According to our current theories of planetary formation, small stars like NGTS-1 have enough gravitational pull to form only small, rocky planets. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Astronomers Spot Big Planet Around Tiny Star, And They Can't Explain Why," 31 Oct. 2017 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

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

16 Oct 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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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 reject or criticize sharply

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