pull apart

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pull apart

1. To separate or disentangle multiple people or things. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "pull" and "apart." When I tried to pull the soggy notebooks apart, I just ended up ripping them both to shreds. The two had been kissing in the back of class when the teacher pulled them apart.
2. To disassemble something; to separate something into smaller parts or components. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "pull" and "apart." I like pulling electronics apart to see how they work. You'll have to pull apart the chair if you want to fit it inside the van.
3. To break, rip, or otherwise destroy something into small pieces or parts. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "pull" and "apart." My two-year-old pulled apart the manuscript I'd been working on for three months. Political differences have pulled our group of friends apart.
4. To cause someone severe anxiety, grief, or emotional turmoil. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is usually used between "pull" and "apart." The grief of losing his husband to cancer is pulling him apart. I know that the bitterness between Mary and her friend is pulling her apart.
See also: apart, pull
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

pull someone or something apart

to separate or dismember someone or something. The murderer pulled his victim apart and sought to dispose of the parts. He pulled apart his victim. Nick pulled the parts of the box apart.
See also: apart, pull

pull someone apart

1. Lit. to separate people who are entangled. The teacher pulled the fighting boys apart and sent them home. They hugged each other so tightly that no one could have pulled them apart.
2. Fig. to upset someone very much; to cause someone grief and torment. This whole terrible affair has just pulled me apart. Don't let this matter pull you apart. Things won't always be this bad.
See also: apart, pull
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

pull apart

1. To pull pieces or components from something; take something apart: I pulled the computer apart and replaced some damaged chips. Our dogs pulled apart the couch while we were away.
2. To separate some people or things: The teacher pulled apart the fighting students. I pulled the two stuck pages apart.
3. To cause someone deep emotional turmoil: Her guilt was pulling her apart.
See also: apart, pull
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Again, pull apart his eyelid, then have your friend give the eye a good long squirt of saline solution.
We've now got some Australian NRL clubs trying to pull apart the planned international programme over the next few years.
Kellogg's Strawberry Winders (eight rolls), pounds 1.69 These are fun, like elastic and great to pull apart. They're chewy like bubblegum, but unfortunately, they stuck to my teeth .
The ring fixture opens using an easy-to-operate sliding lever, eliminating pinched fingers as well as the need to push on metal tabs of pull apart rings.
The puzzle pieces--or plates--move slowly; But they continually collide with each other or pull apart.
A foolproof method for cooking almost any green, and a good way to get to know how to cook the different varieties, is to rinse, remove any tough stems, then pull apart the leaves into hand-sized pieces.
Just as the breweries were broken up following the good work of CAMRA (to take a small example) we need to pull apart these large empires.
Featuring a patented interlocking stud and body that cannot accidently pull apart, they are offered with cast iron or stainless steel bodies and either energy absorption or vibration isolation pads.
Then, for five minutes, before a riveted audience, the pair lock arms, shove one another away, embrace, attack, cuddle, pull apart. And then there's that kiss.
According to Freedman, the reason he and his colleagues have been so successful so far is because they try to focus on doing their job and meeting the budget, instead of joining in the political squabbles that often pull apart co-op boards and management agents.
The strings began to pull apart. Soon I was left with nothing more than a large ball of faded strings.
They ought to be brittler, Lin says, resulting in more earthquakes as the ridges strain to pull apart. But actually, there are fewer earthquakes recorded in the ultraslow-spreading areas.
Gently pull apart. Carefully spoon the creamed tofu into the centre of the fruit.
What takes pounds 60million to put together - and just a few months to pull apart.
At such sites, called mid-ocean ridges, two plates pull apart and molten rock wells up from beneath to form new plate material.