pul·​ley | \ ˈpu̇-lē How to pronounce pulley (audio) \
plural pulleys

Definition of pulley

1 : 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
2 : a pulley or pulleys with ropes to form a tackle that constitutes one of the simple machines
3 : 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 When the last minute of the year arrived, the workers lowered the ball down using a complex pulley system. Jacqui Palumbo, CNN, 31 Dec. 2021 The Arena gym’s high-tech pulley system can generate 200 pounds of resistance. Ashley Mateo, WSJ, 10 Dec. 2021 The conveyor belt is a technological step up, Dave Zimberoff said, over a pulley system last year in which the candy was attached to the line and dropped into the cauldron. George Castle, chicagotribune.com, 1 Nov. 2021 Madelyn Rucks, 5, enjoyed trying out the pulley used to lift a dummy from a dangerous situation. Elizabeth Owens-schiele, chicagotribune.com, 21 Oct. 2021 Try this pulley system suggested by What’s Up Moms on YouTube. oregonlive, 15 Oct. 2021 Two boys scaled a 30-foot rock wall as a pulley system ensured a safe ascent. Caroline Tien, San Antonio Express-News, 12 Oct. 2021 In spring, bears in the wild may be weighed by biologists who fly in via helicopter, tranquilize the bear, push it into a net, and lift it via a pulley system. Rachel Metz, CNN, 2 Oct. 2021 Bennett has since transitioned to the recurve bow, a more traditional style with no pulley system, for the 2012 London, 2016 Rio, and 2020 Tokyo Games. Kamryn Walker, The Arizona Republic, 25 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pulley.' 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 pulley

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pulley

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

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Time Traveler for pulley

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near pulley

pullet disease


pulley block

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Statistics for pulley

Last Updated

4 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pulley.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pulley. Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for pulley



English Language Learners Definition of pulley

: a wheel or set of wheels that is used with a rope, chain, etc., to lift or lower heavy objects


pul·​ley | \ ˈpu̇-lē How to pronounce pulley (audio) \
plural pulleys

Kids Definition of pulley

: a wheel over which a belt, rope, or chain is pulled to lift or lower a heavy object


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

Medical Definition of pulley

More from Merriam-Webster on pulley

Nglish: Translation of pulley for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pulley for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pulley


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