Definition of “pull” - English Dictionary

“pull” in British English

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uk /pʊl/ us /pʊl/

pull verb (MOVE TOWARDS YOU)

A2 [ I or T ] to move something towards yourself, sometimes with great physical effort:

Could you help me move this bookcase over there? You pull and I'll push.
He pulled the chair away from the desk.
He pulled the heavy box across the floor to the door.
[ + obj + adj ] He pulled the door open.
The car was pulling a caravan.
The sun was so strong we had to pull down the blinds.
She pulled out the drawer.

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pull verb (REMOVE)

B1 [ T ] to take something out of or away from a place, especially using physical effort:

He pulled off his sweater.
The dentist pulled both teeth out.
I spent the morning pulling up the weeds in the flowerbeds.

[ T ] to remove or stop something that was going to be published or broadcast, especially because it is found to be offensive or not accurate:

When officials realized the cultural gaffe, the company pulled the ad and apologized.

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pull verb (MOVE)

B2 [ I + adv/prep ] to move in the stated direction:

During the last lap of the race one of the runners began to pull ahead.
We waved as the train pulled out of the station.
Our armies are pulling back on all fronts.
pull yourself along, up, etc.

B2 [ T ] to take hold of something and use effort to move your body forwards or up:

She pulled herself up the stairs, holding onto the rail.
He put his hands on the side of the pool and pulled himself out of the water.

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pull verb (INTERNET)

[ T ] specialized internet & telecoms to get information from the internet, after asking or searching for it:

Companies should encourage customers to pull information from their website, thus putting the customer in control.


uk /pʊl/ us /pʊl/


[ C usually singular ] the act of pulling something towards yourself:

Give the rope a hard pull.

[ C ] something that you pull to make something work or to open something:

a curtain pull
a drawer pull


(Definition of “pull” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“pull” in American English

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us /pʊl/

pull verb (MOVE TOWARD YOU)

[ I/T ] to move something toward yourself, sometimes with great physical effort:

[ I ] Could you help me move this bookcase over there? You pull and I’ll push.
[ T ] Alice lay down and pulled a blanket over her.
[ I ] The little girl pulled at his sleeve (= moved it slightly and repeatedly toward her).

pull verb (REMOVE)

[ T ] to take something out of or away from a place, esp. using physical effort:

[ M ] The dentist had to pull two of my teeth out.
[ M ] I spent the morning pulling up weeds in the garden.
She’s asking companies to pull their ads from the program.
pulls a weapon on

Someone who pulls a weapon on you takes it from a hidden place and points it at you.

pull verb (BRING BEHIND YOU)

[ I/T ] to hold or be attached to the front of something and cause it to move with you:

[ T ] The car was pulling a trailer.
[ I ] Elise sat on the sled while Carol pulled.


[ I always + adv/prep ] to move or move something in the stated direction:

Her car pulled out into traffic.
The sun was so strong we had to pull down the blinds.
He pulled off his wet clothes and laid them out to dry.
pull up a chair

If you pull up a chair, you move a chair so you can sit with other people:

Pull up a chair and join us.

pull verb (MOVE YOUR BODY)

[ I/T ] to move your body or a part of your body:

[ I ] He started yelling at the referee and had to be pulled away by teammates.
[ T always + adv/prep ] He pulled his arm out just as the doors were closing.
[ T always + adv/prep ] She pulled herself up onto the rock.

pull verb (OPERATE A DEVICE)

[ T ] to operate a device that makes a piece of equipment work:

She took out a quarter, dropped it into the slot machine, and pulled the lever.

pull verb (ATTRACT)

[ T ] to attract a person or people:

She was able to pull more votes than the other candidates.
[ M ] The networks are grabbing for any edge that pulls in viewers.

pull verb (INJURE)

[ T ] to injure a muscle by stretching it too much:

Marie pulled a hamstring and couldn’t play in the finals.

pull verb (BE DISHONEST)

[ T ] slang to perform an action that is dishonest or intended to deceive:

Mikey was pulling his usual stunt of feeding most of his lunch to the cat.
Why would you try to pull a trick/prank like that on her?


us /pʊl/

pull noun (INFLUENCE)

[ U ] infml influence, esp. with important people:

The manufacturer used political pull to get the application approved.

(Definition of “pull” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“pull” in Business English

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pullverb [ T ]

uk /pʊl/ us

to stop providing something or take something away from someone or something:

A major partner has threatened to pull all sponsorship.
The first step is to pull the advertising for the defective product.
pull sth from/out of sth Candies with more than .2 parts per million of lead would be pulled from stores.
Elderly savers began to pull their money out of the accounts.

to attract interest from customers:

If it doesn't pull big audiences, what's the point of the festival?
A programme with a few star names is sure to pull the crowds.
pull sth/a rabbit out of the hat informal

to do something unexpected that improves a difficult situation:

If they want to survive the crisis, they'll need to pull something out of the hat pretty quickly.
The company's in real trouble, and they don't seem to have any rabbits to pull out of the hat.
pull the plug on sth informal

to stop an activity from continuing:

If costs rise any higher, we'll have to pull the plug on the whole project.
pull strings

to use your personal influence to make things happen:

She may be retired, but she can still pull strings in the city.
Don't you know anyone who can pull a few strings for us?
pull the strings

to be the person who is in control of things:

He's decided to put in the money himself, rather than let the investors pull the strings
Don't ask me. I'm not the one who's pulling the strings.
pull your weight

to work as hard as other people or as hard as expected and needed:

Everyone is expected to pull their weight on this project.


uk /pʊl/ us

[ U ] influence or power over other people:

These people have a lot of pull in government circles.
I'm afraid I don't have that much pull with the management.

[ S ] the ability to attract people:

Money has a strong pull for institutions and individuals alike.
He tried teaching, but the pull of scientific discovery was greater than that of the academic world.

(Definition of “pull” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)