Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pull v.

1. to drink.

[UK]Laugh and Be Fat 131: Come pull away, ’twill make us brisk and brave, / There’s no such charming Liquor in the Grave.
[UK]T. Hood ‘Last Man’ Works (1862) I 242: But, whenever it came to his turn to pull, / ‘Your leave, good Sir, I must ask; / But I always wipe the brim with my sleeve, / When a hangman sups at my flask!’.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]L. Hadow Full Cycle 232: Then there was a bob-in; then they had one with Chrissie who’d been pulling beer at the Exchange since they were kids.

2. in senses meaning lit. or fig. to ‘move’.

(a) (also pull away) to pilfer, to steal; also attrib.

[UK]D. Haggart Autobiog. 63: I pulled a scout, and passed it to Graham.
[UK] ‘Gallery of 140 Comicalities’ Bell’s Life in London 24 June 1/4: I say, Bill, I’ve got his ticker! – pull his precious nob! [hat].
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 414/1: We lived by thieving, and I do still – by pulling flesh (stealing meat).
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 65/2: It was a regular pull-away affair, more like ‘flimping’ than anything else.
[US]Sun (NY) 13 May 14/6: I think I know the fellow that touched you [...] That pulled away your stuff — stole your money and watch.
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 61: It’s God’s truth, my hands actually got tired weedin’ the leathers I pulled up.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 288: He must have been robbed before, by some Bolshevik, for I only pulled a couple of dirty ten-spots out of him.
[UK] (ref. to 1920s) L. Duncan Over the Wall 170: Why did you come down into this territory to pull all this stuff?
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

(b) to arrest and take before a magistrate; to take before any authority figure; to stop and search on the street; of a place, to raid (see cite 1875) often as get pulled v.

[UK] ‘A Leary Mot’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 77: He had twice been pull’d, and nearly lagg’d, but got off by going to sea.
[UK]D. Haggart Autobiog. 79: John Richardson pulled poor Barney when we were both entering the door.
[UK]Egan Life and Adventures of Samuel Hayward 24: If you do not brush directly, I will send for the traps, and have you pulled for the box.
[US]N.Y. Herald 4 Feb. 1/6: Supposed Pickpockets Arrested. [...] their attention was directed to the movements of two men issuing from the crowd, who, from external appearance and action, gave evidence of their being trained pickpockets. They were ‘pulled,’ and upon examination gave their names as William Palmer and George Wellesly.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) Feb. 4/3: ‘If you collar me, I’m blow’d if I don’t muzzle you’ [...] ‘I’ll have you pull’d, for I found you on my estate’.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 12 June 3/4: He’d been six and thirty years in this colony, and had never been pulled afore for committing nothink of the sort, no how.
[US] ‘Scene in a London Flash-Panny’ Matsell Vocabulum 101: The commissioner wants Harry, and so, of course, I must pull him.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 3 Aug. 3/2: Mr Bridson [...] was ‘pulled’ before a brilliant Bench [...] by Sergeant Tant.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 21 Sept. n.p.: The ‘pulled’ were mached to the Armory.
[US]Galaxy (N.Y.) Feb. 829: In some cases tribute is exacted by the process familiarly known as ‘pulling.’ Armed with a warrant which authorizes him to arrest the proprietress for keeping a disorderly house, a police captain or sergeant makes a sudden raid upon the selected den at an hour when it is certain to have the most inmates, and carries off captive everybody he finds in it.
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 351: Then Hart took some more of these stamps to New Jersey, and was soon ‘pulled’ once more, by the Detectives.
[US]N.Y. Herald 3 Aug. 3/6: A panel house has been opened on Twenty-sixth street [...] Captain Burden [...] ordered me to ‘pull’ it.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 309: He’ll be able to swear up for Jim if the police pull him.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 8 July 4/7: How they [i.e. the police] watch the pubs and ‘pull’ / Fools who’re caught at Sunday-trading.
[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 278: I hate to see a lad get pulled for ridin’ a train, because I’ve been broke myself, and I know what it is to be on the road.
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Bad Boy Abroad 44: We got into the white house without being pulled, but it was a close shave.
[US]F.P. Dunne Mr Dooley Says 197: Th’ house is pulled [...] Ye’er license is expired. Ye’d betther come peaceful.
[UK]A. Conan Doyle His Last Bow in Baring-Gould (1968) II 798: ‘What about Steiner?’ ‘Well, they’ve pulled him, that’s all. They raided his store last night, and he and his papers are all in Portsmouth jail.’.
[US]Dos Passos Three Soldiers 399: You’ll be crazy to go out. You might get pulled. They say there’s riots going on.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 25: Over would come the wagon, and the police would pull everybody in the house.
[Ire](con. 1880–90s) S. O’Casey I Knock at the Door 164: Me da says he knew a fella was pulled for squirtin’ a chew of tobacco into a monkey’s eye.
[Ire](con. 1890s) S. O’Casey Pictures in the Hallway 33: He had heard that long ago, and Tom a young man, that he had been a policeman [...] that he hated pulling anyone.
[UK]F. Norman in Encounter Nov. in Norman’s London (1969) 52: That was the first and last time I have been pulled by the law since I have been out.
[US] ‘Honky-Tonk Bud’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 57: The courtroom was full ’cause Bud had been pulled.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 9: The great uneducated who pulled drunks and bathed tramps.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 197: Pulled Stopped by the police either when on foot or when driving a car.
[UK]A. Payne ‘Get Daley!’ Minder [TV script] 20: First thing they’ll do is pull Tony.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 3: get pulled – hailed to the side of the road by the police.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 156: Reckon I was on my way up the snooker hall. Got pulled. Happen to anyone.
[UK]Guardian Society 13 July [Internet] I got pulled about three weeks ago, running a red light.

(c) to accuse, to have someone arrested.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Oct. 18/2: The other day, Mr. Arthur De Vere Somerset was ‘pulled’ by the engineer of a St. Kilda (Vic.) hash-foundry to show just cause why he should not pay his board bill.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 27 Jan. 14/2: You manjey kow if you doant send this smawl amoun to your truley, i’l put you to a litle more expens you kow i av send you the bil for same three tims now you kow your truley – John Blank / p.s. pleace send this smawl amoun to me return post or i’l dam qick pul you for it you kow i av bil to mete.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 331: Very square of old Trompey not to pull anything about us, wasn’t it?
[Aus](con. 1830s–60s) ‘Miles Franklin’ All That Swagger 173: The old hide caved-in; was glad to let all the money go and give me the gig, or I’d have pulled him for blackmail.
[US] ‘Good-Doing Wheeler’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 74: A narco cop pulled Joe drop by drop.

(d) of a club doorman, a ‘steerer’, to attract clients.

[US]G.J. Kneeland Commercialized Prostitution in N.Y. City 17: The man is well versed in the art of ‘pulling’ customers into the house for which he works.
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 162: Kleig lights and stationary sound trucks in the street act as barkers to pull in the derelicts and trailer tourists.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 99: You know nobody can ‘pull’ a ‘mark’ better than me.

(e) to pick up for sexual purposes, to seduce.

[US]M. West Sex (1997) I ii: margy: He’s pulled something. (gregg follows margy to bedroom door.) gregg: Who is she?
[US]W.F. Whyte Street Corner Society (1955) 29: Let them go out with the girls. They’ve pulled a few fast ones.
[UK]C. Lee diary 2 May in Eight Bells & Top Masts (2001) 108: Said I look better with a broken nose and thinks I’ll be able to pull more birds.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 7: If there is anything I never get tired of doing, it’s pulling chicks.
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 48: Why don’t you pull her? She’s a thoroughbred and she’s free.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 165: You’ll probably pull some slag [...] and finish up with the jack.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 129: Could he pull the skinny model his art director had chosen.
[UK]J. Poller Reach 15: The girl I’d been joylessly trying to pull all night offered me a ‘jay’.
[UK]Eve. Standard Mag. 23 Feb. 42: Mate, you’re never going to pull a bird looking like that.
[UK]K. Richards Life 75: We pulled a couple of birds and spent the whole night in a park.
[US]Spectator 4 Oct. 12/3: He was inappropriately trying to pull a bird, innit.

(f) of a prostitute, to attract a client.

[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 28: I pulled a John into the Sherman House. After I got him there I did not know how to land him.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 5: You’re out here to pull them tricks and cop that bread.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 7: The Duke of Kent was needed and she needed to pull at least a half a country cousin of little brown jugs.

(g) (US black) of a pimp, to enlist a new prostitute.

[US] ‘Mexicana Rose’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 36: I was traveling with my partner, Cocaine Smitty, / On our way to pull some whores in Mexico City.
[US] ‘Sugar Hill’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 93: So I ran down a game to her that would trick the slickest of whores. / And by nightfall I’d pulled her.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 109: I pulled this little chick and moved out West and settled down out there.

(h) to lure a woman away from another man, esp. of a pimp.

[US]N. Heard Howard Street 88: It was the big-timer who did the pulling of others’ women.
[US]Milner & Milner Black Players 148: He continued to joke and banter, made mock attempts to ‘pull’ Christina.

3. to act in a way that is calculated to deceive.

[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 119/2: I’d pull tricks at one shilling a-day, rather than get twelve shillings a-week at my business.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 52: pull, v. To gain favor, sometimes by deception. Especially in phrase ‘pull one’s leg’.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ Beat It 100: I suppose [...] it’s wrong for me to pull this on you about your own flesh and blood.
[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 64: You Couldn’t Pull Anything Like That On Bonehead Barry.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar 155: I’d be a sap to pull anything like that.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 120: The old man was always pulling that stuff.
[UK]M. Marshall Travels of Tramp-Royal 80: Their cars are, nine times out of ten, ‘tin Lizzies.’ For to pull the Good Samaritan stunt from a deluxe model would be too ridiculous.
[US]H. McCoy They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? in Four Novels (1983) 21: What’re you trying to pull on me?
[US]J.M. Cain Mildred Pierce (1985) 333: We wouldn’t pull what they pull.
[US]R. Chandler High Window 97: We’re not trying to pull anything that’s not legitimate.
[UK](con. 1939) R. Westerby Mad in Pursuit 175: Pull another funny idea on me and I’ll get you taken care of.
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 355: It’s the last time I can pull that gag.
[US]M. Spillane Long Wait (1954) 138: Until now you were tagged for both jobs, now there’s reason to believe that you never pulled anything. [Ibid.] 140: If Vera’s still alive and she pulled this stunt you’re willing to see her pay for it?
[US]H. Ellison ‘Johnny Slice’s Stoolie’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 81: We hadn’t pulled anything [...] for fear the squeek would blow to the bulls.
[US]Kerouac On The Road (1972) 69: It’s up to us to see that nobdy pulls any schemes on us.
[UK]H. Pinter Caretaker Act II: Don’t you pull anything.
[Aus]D. O’Grady A Bottle of Sandwiches 8: When you’re in the bush, as long as you don’t try and pull the dirty on anyone and act natural, you’ll be bought a beer anywhere.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 16: You musta thought I was a real lame, pullin’ some cold shit like this.
[US]E. Thompson Caldo Largo (1980) 82: She also pulled for compliments.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 75: He had decided to pull the job after he got mellowed out on two grams of good heroin.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 222: If it wasn’t revenge for the judge, then why pull something like this?
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 21: You should have pulled this caper a couple of years ago.
[UK] in R. Graef Living Dangerously 29: I’ll pull some sly ones on them.
[UK]Guardian G2 17 Nov. 13: There were these guys going to pull this big robbery.
[UK]V. McDermid Insidious Intent (2018) 105: ‘Cast your mind over the crap you’ve pulled lately’.

4. to get hold of, to obtain.

(a) (Aus., also pull off) to obtain from or beg for, usu. money.

[UK]A. Day Mysterious Beggar 266: ‘What d’you ‘pull’ him for?’ ‘He tumbled out a cool – green – crumpled – ‘fifty’.’.
[US]Anaconda Standard (MT) 15 Dec. 10/1: The Star ’Tourist’ strikes his old Standby, the Reporter, who he pulls for many warm bowls.
[Aus]D. Martin Hero of Too 248: How would you like him to pull off a cool six thousand?
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper From The Inside 80: It worked out to about $3000 a week in slings, plus my regular standover money I’d pull off other crims.

(b) (US campus) to obtain, to achieve.

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 52: pull, v. To obtain.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 8: pull – achieve, reach a certain amount:[...] Let me pull one more set and I’ll be ready to leave.

(c) to earn a wage.

[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 48: Joe looked to her like a Bushel of Oats until he began to pull down at the Works.

(d) (US campus) to earn a grade in an examination.

[UK]P. Marks Plastic Age 112: He knew that with a little effort he could have ‘pulled’ an A.
[US]F. Kohner Gidget Goes Hawaiian 76: I’m bright in school and pull straight B’s without listening to what my teachers have to say.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 8: pull – achieve, reach a certain amount: I’ve got to pull a 3.0 this semester or I’m out.

(e) to be allotted, to serve or carry out.

[UK]P. Cheyney Don’t Get Me Wrong (1956) 9: I sit there [...] wonderin’ why it is I always have to pull this sorta job.
[US]N. Proffitt Gardens of Stone (1985) 66: He’s already pulling every shit detail we got.
[US]T. Jones Pugilist at Rest 20: There was a reservoir of malice, poison, and vicious sadism in my soul, and it poured forth freely in the jungles and ricepaddies of Vietnam. I pulled three tours.
[US]G. Pelecanos Night Gardener 145: Gus Ramone and Rhonda Willis were pulling eight-to-fours for the next two weeks.

(f) (US Und.) to receive a jail sentence; to serve a jail sentence.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 165/1: Pull. [...] 2. To serve, as a prison sentence.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 312: The haras wanted to know how things had been in Comstock, how long I had pulled, and how it had been.
[US]M. Braly False Starts 153: He had already pulled four months on a one-to-fourteen out of Sacramento.
[US]A.K. Shulman On the Stroll 112: If a kid dropped a dime on you, you could pull seven years.
[US](con. 1946) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 62: He had pulled a year’s stretch for slapping a girl on a bus.

5. (orig. US Und.) to draw a gun or other weapon.

[US]‘Mark Twain’ Life on the Mississippi (1914) 250: They’d shoot one another down [...] They didn’t hunt for each other, but when they happened to meet, they pulled and begun.
[US]A.H. Lewis Confessions of a Detective 26: Hold off! He’s pulled his cannister; an’ if you crowd him he’s framed it up to do Red.
[US]J. Lomax Cowboy Songs 154: And about old Paul Jones, a mean, fighting son of a gun, / Who was the grittiest cuss that ever pulled a gun.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 150: If the brim of your hat [...] had got between Mr. Masterson and my eye he would have ‘pulled’ on us and I would have had to let go at him.
[UK]R. Westerby Wide Boys Never Work (1938) 33: I’ve got a God-awful fear of razors, and when that Gisberg mob began pulling them to-night I got so scared I nearly puked.
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 27: My Gawd! [...] An’ I nearly pulled on him the day he come.
[Aus]Sun. Mail (Adelaide) 25 Sept. 45/2: I pulled the rod and fired.
[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 212: Pulling a bloody gun. What’s the matter with you?
[US]H. Rap Brown Die Nigger Die! 20: Even a lot of these so-called ‘militants’ go around pulling their 22’s on Black people and ‘tomming’ when the white man comes around.
[Aus]A. Weller Day of the Dog 63: I was drunk last night and I’m sorry, too, for pullin’ a knife on ya.
[US]A. Rodriguez Spidertown (1994) 14: All the kids out here is freakin’. A lotta them is packin’. If they pull on a cop...
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 18: My boy pulled a piece and popped him.

6. to leave, to go away [pull out v. (2)].

[UK]Boy’s Own Paper XL 2 61: I’ll be pullin’ fer the Lillimut in the mo’nin’. Sorry ye won’t jine me.
[US]G. Milburn ‘The Hobo Mandalay’ in Hobo’s Hornbook 77: For the snow had begun blowin’ / And I didn’t like to pull.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 38: Rudy started the car. ‘I’m pullin.’.
[US]D. Goines Street Players 11: Let’s snort this little bit of poison up before we pull.
[UK]G. Norman in Norman (1921) 129: If you pull on in the morning early you will miss the traffic.

7. to masturbate; usu. in comb. with a n. meaning penis (see under relevant nouns, e.g. pull one’s pud under pud n.1 ); thus pull off

[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Pull. Masturbate.
[NZ]A. Duff State Ward 44: Just going off to sleep when a voice hissed: ‘Hey! Who’s pulling himself?’.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Mystery Bay Blues 222: Where have you been? Pulling yourself in the shithouse?

8. to remove, to censor.

[US]E. De Roo Young Wolves 142: ‘Chief, send Cliff out to me.’ ‘Wickman’s playing.’ ‘Pull him.’.
[US]M. Braly Felony Tank (1962) 129: The captain’ll probably pull the block in the morning.
[UK]Observer 26 Sept. 13: The decision to pull the film at the last minute follows a row.
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Cartoon City 81: Am pulling tomorrow’s feature and running yours instead.

9. see pull down v. (3)

In compounds

pulling party (n.)

(US) group masturbation.

[US]G. Legman No Laughing Matter 111: ‘Circle-jerks,’ ‘chain-jerks,’ or ‘pulling parties,’ in which all the boys masturbate together.

In phrases

Mr Pullen is concerned [pun on pull in ]

an arrest has been made.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 259: pull, or pull up to accost; stop; apprehend; or take into custody; as to pull up a Jack, is to stop a post-chaise on the highway. To pull a man, or have him pulled, is to cause his apprehension for some offence; and it is then said, that Mr. Pullen is concerned.
on the pull

looking for a sexual encounter.

[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 178: Fifty-five if she was a day and she was still on the pull.
[UK]N. Barlay Curvy Lovebox 65: All hitched up [...] like she’s slack an’ on the pull.
[UK]Observer 20 Feb. 8: They go so high fashion they look like they’re on the pull.
[UK]S. Maconie Pies and Prejudice (2008) 11: The possibility of going straight on the town (and on the pull) [...] was less attractive.
[UK]V. McDermid Insidious Intent (2018) 48: ‘If her clolthes were anything to judge by, she wasn’t going out on the pull’.
pull a... (v.)

see separate entry.

pull (a/the bag) away (v.)

to pick a pocket or purse.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 13/1: The British Museum is one of the best places in London for a ‘wire’ to ‘pull a bag’ away. [Ibid.] 71/1: In among this ‘push’ we slid, and began ‘pulling away’ in double quick, and before the Queen’s arrival we had taken seven ‘tricks’. [Ibid.] 101/1: The best thing they could do was to take a ‘run out’ and see if they were lucky enough to ‘pull a bag’ or two off. [Ibid.] 102/1: He had lately been ‘pulling the bag away’.
pull down on (v.)

see separate entry.

pull in (v.) (also pull up)

(orig. UK Und.) to arrest; thus pulled in/up, arrested.

[UK]Sporting Mag. Apr. XVI 26/1: If anything is done by scampsmen on the Fulham road, send the traps to pull up Bounce and Blunderbuss, two forties at least.
[UK] ‘All England Are Slanging It’ Universal Songster I 39/2: I must pull you up, so toddle along with me; you shall pass the darkey in the roundy-ken.
[UK]Egan Anecdotes of the Turf, the Chase etc. 183: jemmy was pulled up for the offence.
[UK]Metropolitan Mag. XIV Sept. 333: I must presently tell you about the job for which I am pulled up.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 236/1: There was plenty of officers and constables ready to pull the fellows up. [Ibid.] I 450/1: John Smith, and Thomas Jones, and William Brown are pulled up, but as no gaming implements are found, there’s nothing against them.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 207: ‘To be pulled up,’ to be taken before a magistrate.
[US]S. Crane Maggie, a Girl of the Streets (2001) 38: What’s deh use! Yeh’ll git pulled in! Evrybody ’ill be onto it!
[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 280: They pull him in, o’ course.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 243: Two dapper little hooks [...] were pulled in for picking pockets in East India Dock Road.
[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 63: Just been pulled in for hotel creeping.
[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 217: We can pull ’em in till Christmas, and we won’t turn up nothing.
[US]J. Thompson Alcoholics (1993) 74: They get pulled in for drunk-driving.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 16: You know what happened the last time we pulled Black in.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Start in Life (1979) 166: That bastard’s doing above seventy. I’d pull him in if I was in a squad car.
[UK]J. McClure Spike Island (1981) 97: You pull a thief in, and in many cases the relief pours out.
[UK]Indep. 17 Aug. 5: We will pull you in and do you.
pull it (v.)

1. to run off as fast as one can.

T.G. Fessenden ‘Country Lovers’ in Original Poems (1806) 79: And then she flew straight out of sight / As fast as she could pull it.

2. (US) to leave.

[US]J. Blake letter 12 Oct. in Joint (1972) 190: So I pulled it, and got a room near the Loop.

In phrases

pull off (v.)

1. (UK/US Und.) to steal.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 93/2: They could do what they wanted [...] but on no account to go on the ‘dip’ if they saw ever such a chance of ‘pulling off a poke’.
[UK]London Figaro 9 Nov. n.p.: These sweepstakes, in which the commissioners are always to pull off the money, may help to lessen the figures in the Parliamentary estimates [F&H].
[US] in ‘Mark Twain’ Life on the Mississippi (1914) 459: ‘When we got to Chicago on the cars from there to here, I pulled off an old woman’s leather’ (robbed her of her pocketbook).
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 271: I was makin’ good money pullin’ off a poke every few days.

2. to masturbate, oneself or another person.

[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 1 Feb. 5/1: An opposing crew entered a protest against Stella on the ground that she was not a maiden. On the matter being considered [...] it was found that the protesting party herself had been entered several times and pulled off a number of events .
[Ire]Joyce letter 8 Dec. to Nora Barnacle, in Ellman Sel. Letters (1975) 184: I [...] pulled myself off twice when I read your letter.
[US] Transcript Foster Inquiry in L.R. Murphy Perverts by Official Order (1989) 29: Dye sought a ‘dark place where he could pull a job off,’ [...] ‘he wanted me to get to business, so I stood against a fence while he sucked me off’.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 711: How did we finish it off yes O yes I pulled him off into my handkerchief.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 166/1: Pull off. [...] 3. To masturbate.
[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch 198: He [...] pulls himself off with steel wool.
[US]J. Rechy Numbers (1968) 197: The youngman takes the squirting cock just in time, pulling himself off.
[US]San Diego Sailor 9: I used to get so hot thinking about her that I’d have to go to the head and pull off.
[UK]G.F. Newman You Flash Bastard 197: On Sneed’s appearance in the near-deserted squadroom, the TDC, who was minding the store, reacted as though caught pulling himself off.
[Aus]Lette & Carey Puberty Blues 40: Vaseline [...] was used to soften eye-brows before plucking, rub into surfboard rashes, pull off your randy horse.
[US]S. King It (1987) 389: The only time he could keep it up for longer than seventy seconds was when he was pulling off in the tub.
[UK] (ref. to 1930s) S. Humphries Secret World of Sex 206: John Binns remembers going to the Islington Music Hall [...] All of a sudden someone undone me bloody flies and started pulling me off.
[US]H. Roth From Bondage 135: He finger-fucked her when she had the monthlies and she pulled him off.
[Aus]S. Maloney Big Ask 28: Stop pulling yourself Howard [...] You’ll go blind.
[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 31: Like an old pro, the confident teenager sucked off a couple of bow-tied gorillas and pulled off a roadie.
[US]T. Udo Vatican Bloodbath 51–2: The besotted photographers alternated between pulling themselves off and firing off the shots that would grace tomorrow’s Sun.
[UK]A. Bennett Untold Stories (2006) 135: I lie on the bed in the boarding house back bedroom and pull myself off.

3. (Aus.) to stop doing something [? SE pull up].

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Dec. 15/4: When a youngster threw in a witty interjection some pitying bystander told him to ‘pull off.’ ‘He’s getting old now, and he’s not as nimble with his tongue as he used to be,’ the bystander explained.

4. see sense 3a above.

pull one’s duff (v.) [duff n.2 ]

(US) to masturbate.

[UK]A.R.D. Fairburn letter in Edmond Letters (1981) 1 Feb. 31: To quote Monty: ‘Tract on Pornography [...] He says, and rubs it in, that all non-fucking England, men and women, old and young, are pulling their duffs.
[US]S. Longstreet Straw Boss (1979) 12: That ’Talian bastard Tosgonno whispering, grabbing his jock, ‘Oh yes, Miss Lambkins, pulled my duff twice’.
pull the chain (v.) [lavatory imagery]

1. (US) to masturbate.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 63: Pull the Chain Masturbation. (Archaic: flog the pork).

2. see SE phrs. below.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

pull-down (n.)

see separate entry.

pullout (n.)

see separate entry.

pull-through (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

I could pull her on like an old gumboot

a phr. used of a sexually alluring woman by the man who desires her.

[NZ]G. Slatter Pagan Game (1969) 161: I could pull her on like an old gumboot.
pull caps (v.) [the tearing ofoth each other’s headgear]

of women, to fight, to squabble, esp. over a man.

[UK]Cleland Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1985) 37: Oh, he was such a beauty! I should have died for him! they would pull caps for him! and the like fooleries.
[UK]G. Colman Deuce Is In Him I i: A man that half the women in town would pull caps for.
[UK]Smollett Humphrey Clinker (1925) I 67: At length, they fairly proceeded to pulling caps, and everything seemed to presage a general battle.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Lyric Odes’ Works (1794) I 112: Our lofty Duchesses pull caps, And give each other’s reputations raps, As freely as the drabs of Drury’s school.
[UK]T. Morton Speed the Plough I i: There is not a girl in the parish that is not ready to pull caps for him.
Annual Rev. IV 106/1: Whenever he speaks, it is with good humour and vivacity [...] although I do not think that the Graces would at first pull caps about him.
[UK]W. Scott St Ronan’s Well (1833) 74: Well, dearest Rachel, we will not pull caps about this man.
C.G. Gore Man of Capital II37: He will do very well, in short, Madge, for you and I (and Emily and Mary when they come home to take part in our fight) to pull caps about.
M.J. Holmes Edith Lyle 103: I mean to persuade him to come to America with me for you girls to pull caps about.
pull down (v.)

see separate entry.

pull for (v.)

to support, to back up.

G. Whyte-Melville Contraband II 206: Staunch friends and true, [...] some of whom would even back me up in a row, or pull for me while hounds were running if I got a fall, but who would see me d—d before they lent me a shilling.
[US]World (N.Y.) 8 Aug. 3/1: Anse didn’t have much confidence in John’s ability [...] and told John to sit on the bench and ‘pull’ for victory.
[US]Ade More Fables in Sl. (1960) 124: She was not pulling very hard for the Uplifting of the Sex.
[US]R. Lardner You Know Me Al (1984) 38: She says she is strong for the Tigers but she will pull for me when I work against them.
[US]E. Hemingway letter 30 Apr. in Baker Sel. Letters (1981) 24: That place that they are pulling for very strongly is Wisconsin.
[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 75: No matter if all the rest of the crowd gives me the razzberry, why they’ll be at least two guys pulling for me – Spence Brock and myself.
[US]J. Lait Broadway Melody 46: I’ll be pullin’ for you, but I can’t sing an’ hoof for you. Go to it, an’ ghoul ’em.
[US]H. McCoy They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? in Four Novels (1983) 51: You’re pulling for them to win.
[US]National Geographic Mag. Sept. 321/1: I’m usually pulling for the Indians instead of the cowboys [DA].
[US]M. Spillane One Lonely Night 89: They’re pulling for Deamer in nearly every editorial column.
[US](con. c.1921) G. Duffy Warden’s Wife 124: He has no one Outside pulling for him.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 34: We’re pulling for ya, kid.
[US](con. 1969) M. Herr Dispatches 203: We were really pulling for the kid: if he stayed, we stayed, and that meant all night.
[US]H. Selby Jr Requiem for a Dream (1987) 37: Pullin for the cat as hard as possible.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 116: There were people like Reverend Ellis and Mr. Jones pulling for me.
D. Dunton Build Your own Damn Mousetrap 105: Not just a son, girlfriend, and ex-wife; I also was surprised to see how deeply my coworkers had been pulling for me.
K.A. Yokota Unbecoming British xii: I can count on David Waldstreicher, who has been pulling for me at every stage .
pull on (v.)

see separate entries.

pull one off (on) (v.) (also pull one on, pull one over)

(US) to hoax, to trick to ‘pull a fast one’ (on someone).

[US]F. Packard White Moll 168: They pulled one on him instead, and fastened him to the fire escape.
[UK]B. Ross Tragedy of Z 104: I knew somethin’ screwy’d been pulled off on me.
[UK]R. Westerby Wide Boys Never Work (1938) 193: Bill and all the boys are pulling one off at Haydock Park, see?
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 331: I think he pulled one off on me.
[US]M. Braly Felony Tank (1962) 47: You know what they tried to pull on us?
G.A. Effinger Heroics 55: And you think you can pull one off on the old lady, right? Forget it, creep.
[NZ]H. Beaton Outside In I i: Lav’s a softie. Ginny might pull one.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 20 Apr. 7: Rip you off. Punters, dealers, any of ’em, they’re all looking to pull one over on you.
G. Sykes Lady in Black 172: If he thinks he can pull one off on Francis P., he's got another thing coming.
pull oneself over (v.)

to eat.

[UK]Referee 6 June in Ware (1909) 202/2: I took one for myself, and essayed to pull myself over it. But there, I will spare further recital, beyond that, burnt outside, the chops were raw inside, and like iron all over.
pull one’s handkerchief (v.)

(US teen) to make (sexual) advances.

[US] ‘High School Sl.’ in N.Y. Dispatch 31 May 7: I dropped to his racket the first time he pulled his handkerchief on me.
pull one’s plum (v.) [? nursery rhyme ‘Jack Horner’: Little Jack Horner sat in a corner / [...] He put in his thumb, and pulled out a plum, / And said, ‘What a good boy am I!’]

(Irish) to be idle.

[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] Pulling me plum (v): doing absolutely nothing.
pull out (v.)

see separate entry.

pull shoe strings (v.) [ext. of colloq. pull strings]

(US black) to exert influence, esp. surreptitiously.

[US]M.H. Boulware Jive and Sl.
pull someone’s chain (v.)

1. to annoy someone, to agitate.

[US](con. 1940s) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 61: ‘Yeah, no one pulled your chain,’ Joy Ann sniffed.
J. Leigh Psycho 55: I wouldn’t have put it past him to pull my chain, and then to pull John’s chain — just to get the desired results.
[US]W.T. Vollmann Royal Family 744: Are you trying to pull my chain? said the mayor.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘Undertow’ Wire ser. 2 ep. 5 [TV script] If you want to keep pullin’ our chain, you can.
D.A. Rabb Mother’s Love 45: She had pulled his chain real good. ‘That was low.’ [...] ‘What you going to do about it, Big Daddy, spank me?’ .

2. to lie, to deceive.

[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 298: He’s not buying, Desmond Spellacy thought. He thinks I’m pulling his chain.
[US]R. Price Breaks 387: He didn’t rise, too busy trying to figure out if I had been pulling his chain.
[US]T. Dorsey Hurricane Punch 97: ‘I’ve never been to St. Augustine before.’ ‘You’re pulling my chain.’.
pull someone’s coat (v.) (also pull, pull someone’s coattails, ...jacket, tug someone’s/the coat) [Mezzrow & Wolfe, Really the Blues (1946): ‘The phrase pulling my coat [...] refers to what a man does when he grabs your coat-tail and tugs it two or three times, as a warning or hint or cue when he can’t speak up directly; the sort of thing someone might do when you’re in a group of people and he wants to call your attention to something; a variation on the nudge’]

(orig. US black) to draw attention, to point out, to nag, to give information on.

[[US]Harper’s New Mthly Mag. Oct. 710/1: At this point he was interrupted by a Boston brother, who pulled his coat, and whispered, ‘You had better stop ; you are coming out at the same hole you went in at’].
[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 233: A fellow [...] named Picket came up to the table and began pulling coat-tails.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 219: Thanks for pullin’ my coat, ole man.
[US]Babs Gonzales ‘Manhattan Fable’ [lyrics] He pulled Freddy’s coat about his big eyes for the chick and how he’d pay any kind of dues to cop some long greens.
[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 55: I’m not pulling your sleeve, hombre.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 86: I been tryin to pull your coat.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 111: I shouldn’t pull your coat but I guess I might as well, / I’m that wicked bitch they call Kansas City Nell.
[US]B. Malamud Tenants (1972) 50: Lesser, I have to pull your coat about a certain matter.
[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: pull one’s coattail v. to make one aware; to impart important information; e.g. Let me pull your coattail to this.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Apr. 44: One of the old rorters up the Cross tugged me coat a week ago. His mail was that if I didn’t weigh in soon I’d be gathered for sure, but, shit, I’ didn’t expect I’d get dished up like this just on a lousy dud.
[US]D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 160 Now, let me pull your coattails to what’s comin’ down.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 97: Like you stop d’brother an’ like pull on his coat, say, ‘Man, dat ain’t too cool’.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 49: Tug the Coat Tug the lapel to warn another of possible ‘shelf’.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 14: Kitty put me wise, she pulled my coat already.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 207: After Jim pulled my coat to Hargreave, we came up with a way to cheat him.
[US]Ebonics Primer at www.dolemite.com [Internet] pull on your coat about something Definition: to give another information, as in an informer or friend Example: Huggy Bear said to Starsky ‘Let me pull on your coat about something’ when he was telling the pig about the shipment of heroin coming in next week.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘One Arrest’ Wire ser. 1 ep. 7 [TV script] Let me pull your coat to something. I got a little move we might could do.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘Boys of Summer’ Wire ser. 4 ep. 1 [TV script] I still feel the need to pull your coat.
‘Success’ Pimpin’ Red Carpet Style 128: I decided to call Silky to see if Prissy pulled his coat to what happened today.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] ‘I’d pull your coat if I heard anything’.
pull someone’s string (v.)

(US) to amuse, to excite, to stimulate.

[US]J. Lansdale Rumble Tumble 110: This whole thing with Mexico, well, it’s not pulling my string.
pull the chain (v.) [lavatory imagery]

1. (orig. US) to bring to a conclusion, to make a decisive move to end a period of uncertainty.

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks.
[UK]P. Larkin letter 8 Nov. in Thwaite Sel. Letters (1992) 46: I have pulled the chain on work for a minute.

2. (S.Afr. gang) to abduct people from a public place, robbing the men and/or raping the women.

Drum (Johannesburg) May in Freed (1963) 116: The ‘Berliners’ [...] method of entering a cinema or a dance-hall is called ‘trek-ketting’, which means ‘pulling the chain’. [...] They carry women outside the hall and rape them, and, in the case of men, they rob and assault them.

3. see sl. phrs. above.

pull the chain on (v.) (US)

1. to dismiss, to abandon, e.g. an idea.

[US]N.Y. Herald Trib. 2 Apr. 21/1: And when you have finally decided the idea is definitely lousy, you ‘pull the chain on that one’.
G. Lyall Blame the Dead 'I’m sort of on the run. The Ministry decided to pull the chain on me. I don't know what the charges are, and I think it’s just general stroppiness’.
[US]Billboard 28 Sept. 4/5: And South High gets to pull the chain on Royce Johnson this morning.
J. Noble How to Live with Other People’s Children 8: They were afraid [...] that the children’s mother could pull the chain on visitation.
C. Hitchens For the Sake of Argument 264: Yet apparently nobody — family member, colleague, publisher, drinking companion — told Johnson to pull the chain on it.
B. Cain ’77 Sulphate Strip 70: The Clash pull the chain on all the crap that’s preceded them with a stunningly conceived record.

2. to murder, to kill.

Diel & Di Piego Sharkey’s Machine [movie script] I’m gonna pull the chain on you, pal, and you want to know why? Because you're fuckin’ up my city.
pull the coat (v.) [the image is of being held back by a hand pulling one’s coat]

(Aus.) to make little effort.

[UK]Sun. Tel. (Sydney) 2 Jan. 45: Although there are many who believe he pulls the coat in Sheffield Shield, that’s as far from the truth as you can get.
pull the other one (it’s got bells on) (also pull the other leg, ...tit) [tit n.2 (1)]

a derisive rebuttal of an improbable statement.

[UK]Sevenoaks Chron. 5 May 5/4: ‘Here, pull my leg,’ said Jones. ‘No need, old man, what I have told you is what actually happened’.
[UK]Sevenoaks Chron. 25 Jan. 5/4: ‘Pills for chickens,’ exclaimed Jones. ‘Pull my other leg’.
[UK]Northampton Mercury 26 Feb. 5/3: When the constable told Mrs Roberts he was a police officer [...] she said, ‘Pull the other leg’.
[UK]Western Morn. News 15 Sept. 2/4: If somebody had sind to us, ‘In six months it will all be over and we shall have won,’ we should have answered [...] ‘Here, you, pull the other leg’.
Plays & Players 8 n.p.: Rita: Are you kidding? Here, pull the other one — it’s got bells on it.
[UK]A. Burgess Right to an Answer (1978) n.p.: Pull the other leg, mister [...] it’s got bells on it.
[UK]E. Bond Saved Scene vi: Pull the other one.
[UK]J.P. Carstairs Concrete Kimono 246: Pull the other one, this one has bells on it!
[NZ]G. Slatter Pagan Game (1969) 163: Pull the other tit, boy.
[UK]F. Norman Dead Butler Caper 35: Do me a favour, Willy. Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.
[Ire]J. Morrow Confessions of Proinsias O’Toole 122: Pull the other leg, mate!
[UK]P. Barker Union Street 183: Oh, pull the other one it’s got bells on.
[UK](con. 1940s) P. Barker Liza’s England (1996) 205: Pull the other bugger, it’s got bells on.
[Ire]R. Doyle Van (1998) 622: You’re jestin’! Pull the other one, will yeh.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 159: Pull the other one Nicky it’s got bells on. How much on the scam?
[UK]Indep. Rev. 22 Mar. 11: Oh yeah, pull the other one.
S.R. Lawhead Skin Map 33: ‘I’ll do better than that,’ he declared. ‘I’ll show you.’ ‘Yeah, right.’ She yawned. ‘Pull the other one—it’s got bells on’.
pull the plug (v.) [electrical imagery]

1. (US Und.) to set things going.

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Pull the plug, to start negotiations; proceed; tell the narrative without delay.
[UK](con. 1944) A. Myrer Big War 247: All right, let’s pull the plug [...] let’s – go!

2. to stop performing an action, to terminate; cf. pull the plug on

[US]Time 22 Mar. 48: [He] even hinted that he might pull the plug in preference to ‘indefinitely’ subsidizing the magazine.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 255: They paged the promoter, who was on site within minutes. They wanted him to pull the plug.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skinny Dip 264: It’s not too late to pull the plug [...] We could go see that detective tomorrow morning.
[US]R. Price Lush Life 357: His own bosses got wind of it [...] and pulled the plug .
[UK]J. Niven Kill Your Friends (2009) 19: if we don’t have a fucking single from this band by the end of the month we’re pulling the fucking plug!
[Aus] A. McKinty ‘The Dutch Book’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] If I can’t get a Dutch Book on any of the races [...] I’ll pull the plug.
[US]C. Stella Rough Riders 14: You need to pull the plug here. You weirdin’ now.
pull the plug on (v.) [electrical imagery]

1. to terminate, to bring to an end, usu. abruptly; also to murder.

R.S. Allen Lucky Forward III:4 83: All we’ve got to do now is pray that someone doesn’t change his mind and pull the plug on us.
[UK](con. 1944) A. Myrer Big War 346: He’d be here with us yet if that creeping, conniving, brown-nosing wad of braid in D.C. hadn’t pulled the plug on him!
[US]E. Torres After Hours 148: Then I pull the plug on Judge Joshua Kleinfeld.
[UK]S. Armitage ‘Resonant Frequencies’ in Zoom 52: Since his expulsion from the Royal Society / he had pulled the plug on printed circuits.
[US]N. Green Angel of Montague Street (2004) 44: I wanted to whack Domenic [...] I could pull the plug on him any time.

2. to treat very harshly.

[US]R. Campbell Sweet La-La Land (1999) 169: You want me to pull the plug on him on a D and D?
pull the string (of the shower bath) (v.)

1. to cause something to be released or made common knowledge, to reveal something previously hidden.

[US]J. Russell Lowell ‘On a Certain Condescension in Foreigners’ in Atlantic Monthly Jan. [Internet] After copying the passage into my note-book, I thought it but fair to pay a trifling honorarium to the author. I had pulled the string of the shower-bath!
Old & New Nov. 514: They pull the string of the shower-bath, and they must not be surprised if cold water comes down.
H.H. Smart Sunshine & Snow 230: If you pull the string of the shower-bath you must not complain of wet weather.
[UK]Kipling ‘Dayspring Mishandled’ in Limits and Renewals 20: ‘If I pull the string of the shower-bath in the papers,’ he said, ‘Castorley might go off his verray parfit gentil nut.’.

2. to die.

[UK]P.H. Emerson Signor Lippo Frontispiece: If in return I answer not, / You do not hear me sing, / Be satisfied within thyself / That I have pulled the string.
pull up (v.)

1. to work as a highwayman; thus pull up a jack v., to stop a coach in order to rob it.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[Aus]P. Cunningham New South Wales II 59: A number of slang phrases current in St Giles’ Greek bid fair to become legitimized in the dictionary of this colony: plant, swag, pulling up and other epithets of the Tom and Jerry school are established – the dross passing here as genuine even among all ranks.
[UK]Dickens ‘The Last Cab Driver’ in Slater Dickens’ Journalism I (1994) 146: The loquacious little gentleman [...] finding that he had already paid more than he ought, avowed his unalterable determination to pull up the cabman in the morning.

2. see pull in

In exclamations

pull the chain!

(US) shut up! stop talking (rubbish)!

[US]Dos Passos Three Soldiers 212: ‘Fellers, the war’s over!’ ‘Put him out.’ ‘Cut that.’ ‘Pull the chain.’ ‘Tie that bull outside,’ came from every side of the ward.
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 170: ‘What with Jew lawyers and Irish judges . . . ’ spluttered Phil. ‘Aw pull the chain, old man.’.
[UK]T. Rhone School’s Out II iii: Go in the bathroom and pull the chain!