pul·​ley ˈpu̇-lē How to pronounce pulley (audio)
plural pulleys
: a sheave or small wheel with a grooved rim and with or without the block in which it runs used singly with a rope or chain to change the direction and point of application of a pulling force and in various combinations to increase the applied force especially for lifting weights
: a pulley or pulleys with ropes to form a tackle that constitutes one of the simple machines
: a wheel used to transmit power by means of a band, belt, cord, rope, or chain passing over its rim

Illustration of pulley

Illustration of pulley
  • pulley 2

Examples of pulley in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There were hydraulics, there were pulleys, there were people pushing and pulling the walls. Jim Hemphill, IndieWire, 5 July 2024 Norbert Rodriguez, owner of Quaint Milwaukee, 1926 N. King Drive, said the cost to make basic repairs to a window — which could include fixing sash cords and pulleys, replacing glass, reglazing, or making minor repairs to wood — in the Milwaukee area might be about $400. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Journal Sentinel, 13 June 2024 These might include levers, wheels and axles, pulleys, or inclined planes. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 9 May 2024 On Tuesday, with Hamilton Hall’s doors barricaded, students used a milk crate on a pulley to lift supplies into the building through an upper-floor window. Isa Farfan, NBC News, 30 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for pulley 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pulley.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English poley, pully, from Anglo-French pulie, probably ultimately from Greek polos axis, pole — more at pole

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pulley was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near pulley

Cite this Entry

“Pulley.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pulley. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


pul·​ley ˈpu̇l-ē How to pronounce pulley (audio)
plural pulleys
: a small wheel with a grooved rim used with a rope or chain to change the direction of a pulling force and in combination to increase the force applied for lifting

Medical Definition


pul·​ley ˈpu̇l-ē How to pronounce pulley (audio)

More from Merriam-Webster on pulley

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