\ 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 But the reception of Akhtar’s and Rushdie’s writing in the United States shows again the crude and magnetic poles that pull the American conversation around identity in one of two directions. Amir-hussein Radjy, The New Republic, "A Novelist’s Reckoning With Identity Politics," 6 Jan. 2021 Economists suggested that the viral crisis, combined with diminished income and colder weather, likely led Americans to pull back in November. Paul Wiseman, ajc, "US layoffs remain elevated as 803,000 seek jobless aid," 23 Dec. 2020 The state has not managed to pull itself into the yellow zone in any category since November. Naseem S. Miller, orlandosentinel.com, "2 White House task force reports released by DeSantis’ office after Orlando Sentinel sues," 16 Dec. 2020 With three weeks left in this NFL season and 14 teams headed to the Super Bowl tournament, locals have someone familiar to pull for in Philip Rivers. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Philip Rivers isn’t only ‘San Diego guy’ in Super Bowl hunt," 14 Dec. 2020 Thankfully, someone was there to pull her to safety just in time. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "Dolly Parton Saved Her 9-Year-Old Costar From Being Hit by a Car," 10 Dec. 2020 McAuliffe was able to pull strong support from black voters in his 2013 run, and several members of Virginia's legislative black caucus have donated to his political action committee this year. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe launches second bid for 2021 focusing on education investment," 9 Dec. 2020 But O’Rielly delivered a speech this summer that raised red flags about government intervention in online content moderation, prompting the president to pull O’Rielly’s nomination in early August. Washington Post, "Senate confirms Trump nominee for FCC, threatening deadlock under Biden," 8 Dec. 2020 Another device, which his group described in Nature, uses nanowires to pull electrons from water molecules in the air—thus producing electricity from humidity. Sophie Bushwick, Scientific American, "Electricity-Carrying Bacteria Lead to New Applications—and New Questions," 23 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But New York exerts a gravitational pull on its residents, rich or poor. New York Times, "Coming Home," 1 Jan. 2021 The sleeves hugged my arms perfectly without the unwanted pull, and the medium-weight fabric comfortably held the shirt’s structure. Eliseé Browchuk, Vogue, "I Finally Found the Perfect White T-Shirt—And It’s Custom-Made by Amazon," 28 Dec. 2020 The pull of the narrative, like McDormand’s presence among her fellow-wanderers, seems neither willed nor forced, and the heroine’s plight, though particular to the economics of now, has the timeless texture of a fable. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Movies That Mattered in 2020," 24 Dec. 2020 Shifts can be cued up via paddles on the steering wheel or a console shift lever with a proper pull-to-upshift, push-to-downshift action. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2021 Hyundai Veloster N DCT Gets Quicker and Comfier," 22 Dec. 2020 Watson had 16 points before the 17:00 mark of the second half as Tulane beat Grambling 77-65, following his torrid display from long range with a pull-up on in traffic on a fast break. G Smith, NOLA.com, "No space required: Tulane guard Gabe Watson a master of tough shots," 21 Dec. 2020 At the same time, working a meaningful job offers purpose, a reason to get out of bed in the morning exerts a powerful pull. Chris Farrell, Star Tribune, "Considering retirement? Here's why you need to talk about it. A lot.," 19 Dec. 2020 Bueckers made 8 of 11 shots, everything from a put-back that opened the scoring, to a drive for a twisting layup that beat the halftime buzzer, to a soft pull-up jumper in the lane and a 17-footer. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Paige Bueckers shows how she will lead UConn, and eventually delight fans at Gampel Pavilion, with dazzling debut," 13 Dec. 2020 Jalen Tate and Vance Jackson added layups between timeouts, and KK Robinson also hit a sweet pull-up jumper right of the lane. Scottie Bordelon, Arkansas Online, "Arkansas hammers Lipscomb for 4th win," 6 Dec. 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

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pull.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pull. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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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