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’

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

verb phrases - pull

pull a fast one

meaning – deceive/trick someone
example – The shopkeeper pulled a fast one. I paid for an expensive perfume, but he gave me a cheap one.

pull idioms - pull a fast one

pull a rabbit out of the hat

meaning – suddenly do something clever
example – England will have to pull a rabbit out of the hat if they want to win the FIFA World Cup this year.

Idioms with verbs - PULL - pull a rabbit out of the hat

pull a sickie

meaning – pretend to be ill to get out of doing something (especially work)
example – Johnny isn’t sick. I saw him playing rugby earlier, he’s pulling a sickie.

pull idioms - pull a sickie

pull one’s finger out

meaning – stop wasting time and start working/concentrating
example – Logan has pulled his finger out and is working to support his child.

verb phrase - pull one’s finger out

pull one’s socks up

meaning – start making an effort to improve
example – If Caitlyn doesn’t pull her socks up, social services will take away her children.

Idioms with verbs - PULL - pull one’s socks up

pull one’s weight

meaning – do one’s fair share of the work
example – If Damien doesn’t start pulling his weight, I’ll evict him.

pull idioms - pull one’s weight

pull out all the stops

meaning –  put in a great amount of effort
example – Angela will have to pull out all the stops if she wants to win the election.

Idioms with verbs - PULL - pull out all the stops

pull punches

meaning – be less severe/violent
example – Give me your honest opinion, don’t pull punches.

Idioms with verbs - PULL - pull punches

pull someone’s leg

meaning – playfully joke/tease someone
example – You’re pregnant? Please tell me you’re pulling my leg.

pull idioms - pull someone's leg

pull the plug

meaning – stop something happening/continuing
example –  My landlord pulled the plug on my poker nights. The neighbours started complaining.

pull idioms - pull the plug


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.