Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
1. To back away, withdraw, or retreat. We're being fired at by someone in the rooftops. Everyone, pull back! I pulled back a bit when I realized that I had been putting too much pressure on my pupil.
2. To pull, tug, or haul someone or something backwards or away from something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "pull" and "back." He pulled the small child back from the street. I pulled back the curtains and saw that it had been snowing overnight.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
pull someone or something back (from someone or something)
to grasp and haul someone or something away from someone or something. The cop pulled the kid away from the other kid and made them stop fighting. I pulled back the child from the dangerous hole.
pull back (from someone or something)
to move back from someone or something. When I saw how sick he looked, I pulled back from him in shock. I took one look at the snake and pulled back.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Retreat, as in The troops gradually pulled back. [Mid-1500s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To haul or tug something or someone backward: I pulled my hair back and put it in a ponytail. She pulled back the curtain and looked outside. He pulled me back from the edge of the cliff.
2. To withdraw or retreat: The firefighters pulled back when the fire reached the gas tanks.
3. To order someone to withdraw or retreat: The commander pulled the troops back to a safer position. Aid organizations are pulling back volunteers until the fighting in that area stops.
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.