\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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But congressional Democrats have a long history of pulling defeat from the jaws of victory. Allen C. Guelzo, WSJ, "The Blue Wave Breaks Gently," 9 Nov. 2018 The two sides have been unable to agree on a new distribution deal, which has also resulted in HBO / Cinemax being pulled from Dish’s satellite programming lineup for the first time in 40 years. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Sling TV growth slows dramatically amid HBO standoff and greater competition," 8 Nov. 2018 The percentage of donations that have gone to each party, however, is consistent with that derived from a similar data pull from data analysis company, Enigma, which focused solely on employees. Rani Molla, Recode, "Tech employees are much more liberal than their employers — at least as far as the candidates they support," 31 Oct. 2018 Information about the above bills was pulled from Ballotpedia, a nonpartisan resource. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Abortion Measures in the Midterms You Really, Really Need to Know About," 26 Oct. 2018 Their instincts proved correct, too: A piece of metal jewelry from the year A.D. 300-400 was also pulled from the waters of Lake Vidöstern. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "8-Year-Old Girl Finds 1,500-Year-Old Sword Hidden in Swedish Lake," 5 Oct. 2018 Zaha Hadid Design The rolling loops on the Ribbon carpets pulls from the interior of the Zaha Hadid Design Gallery. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Zaha Hadid’s famous designs reimagined as 22 brightly colored rugs," 2 Oct. 2018 Rihanna and her stylist Jahleel Weaver regularly pull their statement pieces from the latest fashion shows, but rarely does one prompt the flurry of Instagram updates this one did. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Rihanna’s Cushnie Slipdress Will Make You Rethink Your Fall Wardrobe," 1 Oct. 2018 According to the Mayo Clinic, trichotillomania is a mental disorder that involves urges to pull hair from your scalp, eyebrows, or other areas of your body. Temi Adebowale, Harper's BAZAAR, "Model Sara Sampaio Reveals She Suffers From Trichotillomania," 30 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 / 4:42 Watch dash cam video as officers, who have been honored for their actions, pull man from burning car. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "He attacked a barista, so a bystander slammed a milk crate into his face, cops say," 9 July 2018 The wide opening has a low liftover with rear seatback-release pulls. Mark Maynard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "2019 Volkswagen Jetta: 7th generation wide-body reboot," 6 July 2018 After a slow start, and Lustig's foul on Josip Drmic, Switzerland grew in confidence and should have scored when Blerim Dzemaili snatched at Steven Zuber's pull-back. Thomas Allnutt, chicagotribune.com, "Sweden book place in World Cup quarter-finals after edging past Switzerland," 3 July 2018 Visual art’s gravitational field had renewed its pull decades before my mother had reinvented herself as a writer. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Old In Art School," 20 June 2018 The Bundt pan pizza bread: In addition to cakes, Bundt pans are the perfect vehicle to give pull-apart breads made from balls of dough a fun and attractive shape. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, "6 ways to use a Bundt pan you probably haven’t tried," 20 June 2018 Avid anglers move around, drill multiple holes in the ice with lightweight augers, and use pull-behind shacks. Brendan Leonard, Outside Online, "20 Things That Take Longer Than the Nose Ascent," 18 June 2018 Purchase additional lockdown pull stations for each school to support faster emergency response times. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Kettle Moraine School District to receive more than $190K from state for security upgrades," 14 June 2018 What was supposed to be the bedroom closet was walled up and two bookcases were built with enough space for a pull-out couch in between them. Sue Strachan, NOLA.com, "Why downsize? Designer makes the move from condominium to home in style," 30 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pull

Statistics for pull

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pull

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!