1. as a power over someone/something.
(a) influence, advantage.
|F&H].Interlude of Nature sig. C. ii: It cost me a noble... The scald capper sware, That yt cost hym euen as myche But there Pryde had a pull [|
|Lord of Manor III i: You’ll have quite the pull of me in employment.|
|New Dict. Cant (1795) n.p.: pull having the advantage over another.|
|‘Drunk in the Night’ No. 26 Papers of Francis Place (1819) n.p.: It was my intention, to have a pull on them without more delay / So without further trouble I tip’d them the double.|
|Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 259: pull An important advantage possessed by one party over another; as in gaming, you may by some slight, unknown to your adversary, or by a knowledge of the cards, &c., have the odds of winning considerably on your side; you are then said to have a great pull. To have the power of injuring a person, by the knowledge of any thing erroneous in his conduct, which leaves his character or personal safety at your mercy, is also termed having a pull upon him, that is (to use a vulgar phrase) that you have him under your thumb.|
|Life in London (1869) 227: [The Watchmen] besides having the pull in their favour, in opening the charge, and colouring it as they think proper .|
|Modern Flash Dict.|
|Swell’s Night Guide K4: Pull, having an advantage.|
|Tom Brown’s School-Days (1896) 118: What a pull [...] that’s it’s lie-in-bed.|
|Adventures of Fudge Fumble 135: You’ll never get a pull on me like some of the rest of the fair ones have done.|
|‘’Arry on Crutches’ in Punch 3 May 201/1: That’s where I’ve the pull [...] I’ve the tastes of a Toff of the day.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Feb. 18/3: A girl, then, with her hair tastefully and becomingly dressed, joined to a pretty neck and soldiers, and plump white arms, has quite the pull over the girl with a beautiful face, and nothing else to balance it.|
|‘The Bush Undertaker’ in Roderick (1972) 56: That’s where yer get the pull on me.|
|Chimmie Fadden Explains 36: I squared it wid de Senator’s pull.|
|Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 5 Dec. 4/2: The higher Courts, where the powerful ‘police-pull’ loses its justice-diverting power.|
|Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 27: Well, yuh gotta have pull tuh do it.|
|Types From City Streets 59: Once he was able, through his ‘pull,’ to get an indictment for homicide dismissed.|
|Long Trick 51: ‘That’s where the Hun has the pull over us’.|
|Ulysses 110: Never mind. Be sorry after perhaps when it dawns on him. Get the pull over him that way.|
|Limey 5: I was consorting with criminals, but mostly cheap ones – the bums of the underworld who had no ‘pull’.|
|‘Don’t Give Your Right Name’ in Goulart (1967) 35: So you got a pull with the cops, have you?|
|From Here to Eternity (1998) 298: I got pull with the Colonel [...] but I aint got that much pull.|
|Pimp 39: The alumni had powerful pull all right.|
|Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 100: If your friend Stanley had any pull at the Home Office, he ought to be able to wangle a permit.|
|‘Power’ [lyrics] Prey on the lame, release those with pull.|
|Skull Session 457: He’s no doubt got a lot of pull.|
|Guardian Mag. 20 May 35: In 1953, aged 21, he got into Columbia University. ‘Through pull. I knew someone who worked there. My grades weren’t good enough.’.|
|Alphaville (2011) 83: My social science instructor [...] used some pull inside the department.|
(b) a trick, a fraud, a knack.
|Belman of London F2: Diuerse other pullies (if these two faile) haue they to draw simple men into their company.|
|Sporting Mag. July II 234/2: Mr. Lookup won between three and four hundred pounds; but it having been hinted to Sir Thomas [...] that Lookup must have had a pull upon him, the baronet commenced an action to recover double damages.|
|Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 259: pull [...] A person speaking of any intricate affair, or feat of ingenuity, which he cannot comprehend, will say, There is some pull at the bottom of it, that I’m not fly to.|
|in Cockney Past and Present (1938) 57: A werry tidy pull for coves with a bit of money to lay out.|
(c) a physical advantage.
|Digby Grand (1890) 59: You are the lightest weight, a great pull on snow-shoes.|
|Experiences of a Convict (1965) 26: At roulette the ‘pull’ in favour of the table was about nineteen to eighteen.|
(d) an ulterior motive, a hidden agenda.
|‘’Arry on the ’Oliday Season’ in Punch 16 Aug. 74/1: Life’s greatest pulls, dontcherknow / Are to look up to sparklers above us, and down on poor duffers below.|
|Artie (1963) 30: ‘Come off,’ I says; ‘he would n’t be writin’ notes and comin’ ’round here unless he had some pull.’.|
(e) an anxious or worrying moment that ‘tugs at one’s heartstrings’.
|Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.|
|South Riding (1988) 379: Well, that had been a pull, and risky too.|
|Quare Fellow (1960) Act II: It’s a long old pull till eight tomorrow morning.|
2. as a physical act.
(a) the act of drinking, a drink.
|‘The Dame of Honour’ in Chap Book (1920) Sept. 11: Of humming Beer, my Cellar full, / I was the yearly Doner; / When toping Knaves had many a pull.|
|Oreals Indep. Standard (Irasburgh, VT) 18 Nov. 1/2: ‘Well [...] first take a pull on this,’ drawing out a huge bottle.|
|Eve. Star (Wash., DC) 24 Dec. 1/5: I [...] takes another swingin’ big pull at the rum.|
(b) (US Und.) the act of drawing a gun.
|You Can’t Win (2000) 150: Bad man rode from the Texas Panhandle [...] to shoot it out with him, and he dropped them all. He beat them all to the ‘pull’.|
(c) a puff on a pipe; a (puff on a) cigarette.
|Dundee People’s Jrnl 25 Nov. 2/5: ‘I have to request that you will [...] put out that pipe.’ ‘O, dear, don’t be disagreeable now [...] why, I’ll favour you with a pull, sir’.|
|Falkirk Herald 6 Apr. 2/1: He takes a pull at the opium-pipe, and then puts it in the mouth of the drowsy lascar.|
|‘Smokers’ Sl.’ in AS XV:3 Oct. 336/1: If you only want a puff or two on another person’s cigarette, you might ask for a nip, or a drag, or a pull.|
|(con. 1948) Flee the Angry Strangers 100: ‘Sue me,’ he said, taking a good pull on the stogie.|
|Walk in the Night (1968) 77: Take a pull, pally.|
|(con. 1979–80) Brixton Rock (2004) 25: Just wrap up another zoot and [...] you’d better give Sharon a few pulls.|
|Chicken (2003) 51: She takes a deep pull on her fag and I feel the heat of her cherry on my belly.|
(d) an act of masturbation.
|Boys from Binjiwunyawunya 178: Then you can do what you like. Read, think [...] Have a pull if you like.|
3. in senses of fig. ‘taking away’.
(a) (UK Und.) a successful theft or the profits it brings.
|Wild Tribes of London 65: There are thieves on all sides of us. They do the work, but who gets the pull? Why, the Jews.|
|(con. 1840s–50s) London Labour and London Poor IV 320/1: That and the following day we had a good pull. It amounted to about 19l-. each.|
|Tag, Rag & Co. 22: ‘It isn’t the likes of me that gets the profit.’ [...] ‘It’s them the makers work for who get the pull.’.|
(b) (US) a police raid.
|Hands Up! 79: When a ‘pull’ or raid was made on this place it was necessary to close every avenue of escape.|
(c) an act of sexual conquest.
|Fact’ry ’Ands 182: You’d slap ther town. You’d have firs’ pull ermong ther doods, ’n’ cud pick one t’ suit.|
|Rachel Papers 33: A mental chant, timor mortis conturbat me, and I began on my clumsiest pull ever.|
|You Flash Bastard 85: Sneed contemplated how he could best give her a pull after their unfavourable start.|
(d) an object of sexual conquest; one who can be seduced.
|Groupie 219: ‘I’m not going to sleep with you.’ [...] ‘Why not?’ ‘Because I’m not an easy pull.’.|
|Rachel Papers 37: It was so obviously me and my pull and Geoffrey and his pull getting together to plan a spotty removal to someone’s house.|
(e) an arrest.
|Run, Chico, Run (1959) 8: A cigarette; a plain-clothes waiting to make a pull wouldn’t light up.|
|Villain’s Tale 55: What happened was I went and got a pull on my form, that’s all. They went and found a fucking shooter at my place, they did.|
|Only Fools and Horses [TV script] You’ve got less chance of a pull than the Queen!‘May the Force be with You’|
|(con. 1979–80) Brixton Rock (2004) 142: Say the beast caught us at Chemist’s yard, he would have got pull as well.|
|Layer Cake 74: Did anyone get a pull?|
|Jack of Jumps (2007) 269: After he went the [Kray] twins were expecting a pull, but it didn’t happen.|
(f) (Aus.) that which has been earned.
|‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxviii 10/3: pull: Anything earned one way or another.|
to have at a disadvantage.
|Thirty-Nine Steps (1930) 74: It made me boil with rage to think of those three spies getting the pull on me like this.|
1. to tell off, to reprimand.
|Bang To Rights 23: Spud Murphy gave him a very strong pull, and put the frighteners on him.|
2. to arrest.
|Punch 17 Mar. in Norman’s London (1969) 158: One [policeman] even gave me a pull and told me that I was very naughty not to go around committing crimes.in|
3. to notify.
|Life 530: I got a pull from Chrissy Kingston [...] about this amazing mongrel.|
(Aus. ) to assess (oneself).
|Sun. Times (Perth) 28 June 1/1: The king of Katanning needs to take a pull at himself [...] he hasn’t exactly the power ascribed to the Czar.|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 20 Feb. 3rd sect. 17/7: The cold, hard truth is that it is reallv time Clarence Tisdale took a pull at himself.|