from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To apply force to so as to cause or tend to cause motion toward the source of the force.
  • transitive v. To remove from a fixed position; extract: The dentist pulled the tooth.
  • transitive v. To tug at; jerk or tweak.
  • transitive v. To rip or tear; rend.
  • transitive v. To stretch (taffy, for example) repeatedly.
  • transitive v. To strain (a muscle, for example) injuriously.
  • transitive v. Informal To attract; draw: a performer who pulls large crowds.
  • transitive v. Slang To draw out (a weapon) in readiness for use: pull a gun; pulled a knife on me.
  • transitive v. Informal To remove: pulled the engine; pulled the tainted meat product from the stores.
  • transitive v. Sports To hit (a ball) so that it moves in the direction away from the dominant hand of the player propelling it, as to the left of a right-handed player.
  • transitive v. Nautical To operate (an oar) in rowing.
  • transitive v. Nautical To transport or propel by rowing.
  • transitive v. Nautical To be rowed by: That boat pulls six oars.
  • transitive v. To rein in (a horse) to keep it from winning a race.
  • transitive v. Printing To produce (a print or an impression) from type.
  • intransitive v. To exert force in moving something toward the source of the force.
  • intransitive v. To drink or inhale deeply: pulled on the cold beer with gusto; pull on a cigarette.
  • intransitive v. Nautical To row a boat.
  • intransitive v. Informal To express or feel great sympathy or empathy: We're pulling for our new president.
  • n. The act or process of pulling.
  • n. Force exerted in pulling or required to overcome resistance in pulling.
  • n. A sustained effort: a long pull across the mountains.
  • n. Something, such as a knob on a drawer, that is used for pulling.
  • n. A deep inhalation or draft, as on a cigarette or of a beverage.
  • n. Slang A means of gaining special advantage; influence: The lobbyist has pull with the senator.
  • n. Informal Ability to draw or attract; appeal: a star with pull at the box office.
  • pull ahead To move ahead, as in a race.
  • pull away To move away or backward; withdraw: The limousine pulled away from the curb.
  • pull away To move ahead: The horse pulled away and took the lead in the race.
  • pull back To withdraw or retreat.
  • pull down To demolish; destroy: pull down an old office building.
  • pull down To reduce to a lower level.
  • pull down To depress, as in spirits or health.
  • pull down Informal To draw (money) as wages: pulls down a hefty salary.
  • pull in To arrive at a destination: We pulled in at midnight.
  • pull in To rein in; restrain.
  • pull in To arrest (a criminal suspect, for example).
  • pull off Informal To perform in spite of difficulties or obstacles; bring off: pulled off a last-minute victory.
  • pull out To leave or depart: The train pulls out at noon.
  • pull out To withdraw, as from a situation or commitment: After the crash, many Wall Street investors pulled out.
  • pull over To bring a vehicle to a stop at a curb or at the side of a road: We pulled over to watch the sunset.
  • pull over To instruct or force (a motorist) to bring his or her vehicle to a stop at a curb or at the side of a road: The state trooper pulled the speeding motorist over.
  • pull round To restore or be restored to sound health.
  • pull through To come or bring successfully through trouble or illness.
  • pull up To bring or come to a halt.
  • pull up To move to a position or place ahead, as in a race.
  • idiom pull a fast one Informal To play a trick or perpetrate a fraud.
  • idiom pull (oneself) together To regain one's composure.
  • idiom pull (one's) punches To refrain from deploying all the resources or force at one's disposal: didn't pull any punches during the negotiations.
  • idiom pull (one's) weight To do one's own share, as of work.
  • idiom pull out all the stops Informal To deploy all the resources or force at one's disposal: The Inaugural Committee pulled out all the stops when arranging the ceremonies.
  • idiom pull (someone's) leg To play a joke on; tease or deceive.
  • idiom pull something To carry out a deception or swindle.
  • idiom strings Informal To exert secret control or influence in order to gain an end.
  • idiom pull the plug on Slang To stop supporting or bring to an end: pulled the plug on the new art courses.
  • idiom pull the rug (out) from under Informal To remove all support and assistance from, usually suddenly.
  • idiom pull the string Baseball To throw an off-speed pitch.
  • idiom pull the wool over (someone's) eyes To deceive; hoodwink.
  • idiom pull together To make a joint effort.
  • idiom pull up stakes To clear out; leave: She pulled up stakes in New England and moved to the desert.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to apply a force to (an object) so that it comes toward the person or thing applying the force
  • v. to persuade (someone) to have sex with one
  • v. to remove (something), especially from public circulation or availability
  • v. to do or perform
  • v. to retrieve or generate for use
  • v. to apply a force such that an object comes toward the person or thing applying the force
  • v. to toss a frisbee with the intention of launching the disc across the length of a field
  • v. to row
  • v. To strain (a muscle, tendon, ligament, etc.).
  • v. To draw (a hostile non-player character) into combat, or toward or away from some location or target.
  • v. to score a certain amount of points in a sport.
  • n. An act of pulling (applying force)
  • n. An attractive force which causes motion towards the source
  • n. Any device meant to be pulled, as a lever, knob, handle, or rope
  • n. influence, especially as a means of gaining advantage
  • n. Appeal or attraction or (as of a movie star)
  • n. (uncountable) The situation where a client sends out a request for data from a server, as in server pull, pull technology
  • n. A journey made by rowing

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of pulling or drawing with force; an effort to move something by drawing toward one.
  • n. A contest; a struggle.
  • n. A pluck; loss or violence suffered.
  • n. A knob, handle, or lever, etc., by which anything is pulled
  • n. The act of rowing.
  • n. The act of drinking.
  • n. Something in one's favor in a comparison or a contest; an advantage; means of influencing.
  • n. A kind of stroke by which a leg ball is sent to the off side, or an off ball to the side.
  • intransitive v. To exert one's self in an act or motion of drawing or hauling; to tug.
  • transitive v. To draw, or attempt to draw, toward one; to draw forcibly.
  • transitive v. To draw apart; to tear; to rend.
  • transitive v. To gather with the hand, or by drawing toward one; to pluck
  • transitive v. To move or operate by the motion of drawing towards one
  • transitive v. To hold back, and so prevent from winning.
  • transitive v. To take or make, as a proof or impression; -- hand presses being worked by pulling a lever.
  • transitive v. To strike the ball in a particular manner. See Pull, n., 8.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To draw or try to draw forcibly or with effort; drag; haul; tug: opposed to push: generally with an adverb of direction, as up, down, on, off, out, back, etc.: as, to pull a chair back; to pull down a flag; to pull a bucket out of a well; to pull off one's coat.
  • To pluck; gather by hand: as, to pull flax; to pull flowers.
  • To draw in such a way as to rend or tear; draw apart; rip; rend: followed by some qualifying word or phrase, such as asunder, in pieces, apart: also used figuratively.
  • To extract; draw, as a tooth or a cork.
  • To agitate, move, or propel by tugging, rowing, etc.: as, to pull a bell; to pull a boat.
  • To transport by rowing: as, to pull a passenger across the bay.
  • In printing, to produce on a printing-press worked by hand; hence, to take or obtain by impression in any way: as, to pull a proof.
  • To bring down; reduce; abate.
  • To pluck; fleece; cheat.
  • In tanning, to remove the wool from (sheepskins), or the hair from (hides).
  • To steal; filch.
  • To make a descent upon for the purpose of breaking up; raid; seize: as, to pull a gambling-house: said of police.
  • In horse-racing, to check or hold back (a horse) in order to keep it from winning: as, the jockey was suspected of pulling the horse.
  • To subvert; overthrow; demolish.
  • To abase; humble; degrade.
  • To take to task; administer reproof or admonition to; put a check upon.
  • To arrest and take before a court of justice.
  • To bring to a stop by means of the reins: as, to pull up a horse when driving or riding.
  • To stop or arrest in any course of conduct, especially in a bad course. Synonyms To drag.
  • To gather.
  • To give a pull; tug; draw with strength and force: as, to pull at a rope.
  • In cricket, to hit (a short ball pitched on the wicket or on the off side), with a horizontal bat, so as to send (it) round to the on side
  • n. The exercise of drawing power; effort exerted in hauling; a tug; drawing power or action; force expended in drawing.
  • n. Exercise in rowing; an excursion in a row-boat: as, to have a pull after dinner.
  • n. A contest; a struggle.
  • n. That which is pulled. Specifically — The lever of a counter-pump or beer-pull.
  • n. The knob and stem of a door-bell; a bell pull.
  • n. Influence; advantageous hold or claim on some one who has influence: as, to have a pull with the police; he has a pull on the governor.
  • n. A favorable chance; an advantage: as, to have the pull over one.
  • n. A drink; a swig: as, to have a pull at the brandy-bottle.
  • n. In printing, a single impression made by one pull of the bar of a hand-press.
  • n. In cricket, a stroke made with a horizontal bat, by which a short ball pitched on the wicket or to the off side is hit round to the on side.
  • n. In golf, a stroke such that the ball describes a curve toward the left with a right-handed player, or toward the right with a left-handed player. See also hook, 10.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. tear or be torn violently
  • n. special advantage or influence
  • v. strain abnormally
  • v. apply force so as to cause motion towards the source of the motion
  • v. cause to move by pulling
  • n. a sharp strain on muscles or ligaments
  • n. a device used for pulling something
  • v. steer into a certain direction
  • n. the force used in pulling
  • v. perform an act, usually with a negative connotation
  • v. hit in the direction that the player is facing when carrying through the swing
  • v. operate when rowing a boat
  • v. take sides with; align oneself with; show strong sympathy for
  • n. a slow inhalation (as of tobacco smoke)
  • v. cause to move in a certain direction by exerting a force upon, either physically or in an abstract sense
  • v. direct toward itself or oneself by means of some psychological power or physical attributes
  • n. a sustained effort
  • v. bring, take, or pull out of a container or from under a cover
  • n. the act of pulling; applying force to move something toward or with you
  • v. strip of feathers
  • v. move into a certain direction
  • v. rein in to keep from winning a race
  • v. remove, usually with some force or effort; also used in an abstract sense
  • v. take away


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English pullen, from Old English pullian.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English pullen, from Old English pullian ("to pull, draw, tug, pluck off"). Related to Middle Dutch pullen ("to drink"), Low German pulen ("to pick, pluck, pull, tear, strip off husks"), Icelandic púla ("to work hard, beat").



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  • From McSweeney'


    March 22, 2005

    To you people,


    PULL the door open. Turn the handle any old way you want. But then PULL. Don't push. Stop pushing the door. Pull. Pull it. The door will open if you pull it. I can't stand that banging sound. No, it's not locked. It's unlocked. I unlocked it. Yes, I see you there. And I unlocked it. It works. The battery is not dead. I checked. I'm not playing a trick on you. Stop looking at me like that. And stop ringing the doorbell. Just pull. Pull the door.





    Kurt Chiang

    September 26, 2008