pull the plug on something

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

pull the plug on something

COMMON If someone with power pulls the plug on a project or activity, they stop it from happening or continuing, usually by stopping the money that pays for it. The banks have the power to pull the plug on the project if they do not like what the companies are doing. The Government has set out detailed conditions under which it would pull the plug on the sale. Note: You can also just say that someone pulls the plug. They intended to watch us every step of the way, and if anything went wrong they would pull the plug.
See also: on, plug, pull, something
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

pull the ˈplug on something

(informal) destroy or bring an end to something, for example somebody’s plans, a project, etc: The banks are threatening to pull the plug on the project.They’ve pulled the plug on that new comedy show on Channel Four.
See also: on, plug, pull, something
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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