pull the plug on


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pull the plug (on someone or something)

1. Literally, to discontinue the power supply for a device by removing its power cable from the socket. The computer crashed so badly that the only thing I could do was pull the plug. She pulled the plug on the vacuum cleaner because I couldn't hear what she was saying.
2. By extension, to force something to end; to remove the means for something to continue operating. The new president pulled the plug on several of his predecessor's programs as soon as he took office. They pulled the plug because they felt our department wasn't an important part of the business.
3. To remove, turn off, or discontinue someone's life-support system, resulting in their death. Despite many objections, the court ruled that the family could pull the plug. I've instructed my family to pull the plug on me if I ever become brain dead.
See also: plug, pull, someone

pull the plug on

1. Discontinue, end, as in The government pulled the plug on that program. [First half of 1900s]
2. Remove all life-supporting equipment, as in The family debated whether it was time to pull the plug on him. [Second half of 1900s] Although this idiom undoubtedly alludes to cutting off electricity to an electrical device, it originally referred to the removal of a stopper that flushed an old-style toilet.
See also: on, plug, pull

pull the plug on

Slang
To stop supporting or bring to an end: pulled the plug on the new art courses.
See also: on, plug, pull
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