from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of pulling the wires, as of a puppet; hence, secret influence or management, especially in politics; intrigue.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of pulling the wires, as of a puppet or other mechanical contrivance.
  • n. Hence The rousing, guiding, and controlling of any organization or body of persons, especially a political party, by underhand influence or management; intrigue, especially political intrigue.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • He advanced me money, and, by clever wire-pulling, got me an appointment in a large college.

    Wings in the Night

  • It is just possible to be a literary gent and to keep your decency if you are a definitely popular writer — a writer of detective stories, for instance; but to be a highbrow, with a footing in the snootier magazines, means delivering yourself over to horrible campaigns of wire-pulling and backstairs-crawling.

    The Road to Wigan Pier

  • The state legislature at this time was ruled over by a small group of wire-pulling, pettifogging, corporation-controlled individuals who came up from the respective towns, counties, and cities of the state, but who bore the same relation to the communities which they represented and to their superiors and equals in and out of the legislative halls at Springfield that men do to such allies anywhere in any given field.

    The Titan

  • A man who entertains in his mind any political doctrine, except as a means of improving the condition of his fellows, I regard as a political intriguer, a charlatan, and a conjurer — as one who thinks that, by a certain amount of wary wire-pulling, he may raise himself in the estimation of the world.

    An Autobiography

  • He lived on good terms, too, with his fellow-critics, so that wire-pulling was easy — incomparably more so than were the embarrassing visits, open to any snub, which were common if one was only a pupil of the

    Maurice Guest

  • And he also apparently had a lot to do with some of the wire-pulling in the -- the trials there at le ...

    Frank and Jesse James: The Story Behind the Legend

  • With eleven, twelve, perhaps fourteen or fifteen promotions thus in prospect, there must have been extensive wire-pulling by ambitious colonels.


  • John Ellington will be wire-pulling and whip-cracking all night.

    Sagittarius Whorl

  • Kristol explains why he did not believe the rumors that the CIA was supporting Encounter and why "the idea of any secret editorial wire-pulling by the CIA was not only unthinkable, it was literally impossible."

    An Anti-Intellectual Intellectual

  • For nearly forty years he has had a leading part in making or unmaking of Cabinets; he has served his Queen and his country in almost every capacity in office and in opposition, and yet to-day, despite his prolonged sojourn in the malaria of political wire-pulling, his heart seems to be as the heart of a little child.

    The Grand Old Man


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.