What does ‘pull’ mean?

The word ‘pull’ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to use force on a person or object to make it move towards oneself.

For example:

  • Stop pulling my hair.

 

Pull is a regular verb. The past tense and past participle is pulled.

idiomatic phrasal verbs

Did you know phrasal verbs are sometimes used in idioms? See if you can spot any. If you don’t know any phrasal verbs with ‘pull’, click here to learn them.

idioms list with ‘pull’

  • pull a fast one – deceive/trick someone
    e.g. The shopkeeper pulled a fast one. I paid for an expensive perfume, but he gave me a cheap one.
  • pull a rabbit out of the hat – suddenly do something clever
    e.g. England will have to pull a rabbit out of the hat if they want to win the FIFA World Cup this year.
  • pull a sickie – pretend to be ill to get out of doing something (especially work)
    e.g. Johnny isn’t sick. I saw him playing rugby earlier, he’s pulling a sickie.
  • pull one’s finger out – stop wasting time and start working/concentrating
    e.g. Logan has pulled his finger out and is working to support his child.
  • pull one’s socks up – start making an effort to improve
    e.g. If Caitlyn doesn’t pull her socks up, social services will take away her children.
  • pull one’s weight – do one’s fair share of the work
    e.g. If Damien doesn’t start pulling his weight, I’ll evict him.
  • pull out all the stops put in a great amount of effort
    e.g. Angela will have to pull out all the stops if she wants to win the election.
  • pull punches – be less severe/violent
    e.g. Give me your honest opinion, don’t pull punches.
  • pull someone’s leg – playfully joke/tease someone
    e.g. You’re pregnant? Please tell me you’re pulling my leg.
  • pull the plug – stop something happening/continuing
    e.g. My landlord pulled the plug on my poker nights. The neighbours started complaining.

Let’s see these idioms with pictures and meaning using real-life scenarios.

verb phrases - pull
pull idioms - pull a fast one
Idioms with verbs - PULL - pull a rabbit out of the hat
pull idioms - pull a sickie
verb phrase - pull one’s finger out
Idioms with verbs - PULL - pull one’s socks up
pull idioms - pull one’s weight
Idioms with verbs - PULL - pull out all the stops
Idioms with verbs - PULL - pull punches
pull idioms - pull someone's leg
pull idioms - pull the plug

Psst…

Hey, did you know the verb ‘pull’ has many phrasal verbs. Since you like idioms and phrases, you obviously want to improve your fluency and speak like a native.

Am I right?

 

I thought you might like to learn the phrasal verbs with ‘pull’ too. They are very common in informal English and great to know/be able to understand if you happen to be speaking to a native. We use them all the time, like literally ALL the time.