pull strings, to

(redirected from to pull strings)

pull (some) strings

 and pull a few strings
to use influence (with someone to get something done). I can get it done easily by pulling a few strings. Is it possible to get anything done around here without pulling some strings?
See also: pull, string
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

pull strings

Also, pull wires. Use one's influence, as in By pulling strings he got us house seats to the opening, or His father pulled some wires and got him out of jail. Both terms allude to manipulating a marionette. The first dates from the second half of the 1800s, the second from the early 1800s.
See also: pull, string
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.

pull strings

COMMON If someone pulls strings to get something they want, they get it by using their friendships with powerful people, often in a way which is unfair. It was felt that her father was pulling strings to advance her career. She knows a lot of people in the theatre so she's usually able to pull a few strings if there are any tickets she wants. Note: You can also talk about string-pulling. He got his job back, thanks to some string-pulling by a major Hollywood power player — who happens to be his girlfriend's father.
See also: pull, string
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

pull strings

make use of your influence and contacts to gain an advantage unofficially or unfairly.
An American variant of this expression is pull wires: the image here and in the next idiom is of a puppeteer manipulating a marionette by means of its strings.
1998 New Scientist Behind the scenes, there is invariably a democratic government or two pulling strings to keep the cigarette barons in power.
See also: pull, string
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

pull ˈstrings (for somebody)

(American English also pull ˈwires) (informal) use your influence in order to get an advantage for somebody: She doesn’t want me to pull any strings for her; she says she prefers to be offered a place on her own merit.I’m sure his uncle in the BBC must have pulled strings for him.
See also: pull, string
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

pull strings, to

To exert behind-the-scenes influence. The term comes from puppetry: puppets or marionettes are manipulated by means of strings or wires held by the puppetmaster. It was transferred to politics by 1860, when Bishop William Stubbs wrote (Lectures on the Study of History), “A king who pulled the strings of government.”
See also: pull
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
And when it comes to the pesky duo 'The Wet Bandits' trying to take a peek at his house, Culkin does not have to pull strings anymore.
No prizes for guessing who the Big Satan is but Iranians have always had a healthy respect for our duplicity and Britain's ability to pull strings behind the scenes.
Obviously, they've made up, and were arm-in-arm as they arrived at Heathrow yesterday, in time for Sharon to pull strings for Kelly and her mates to see The X Factor.
The much-loved poet's consummate patriotism powers his genuine belief that all young men should be prepared to fight for the country they love, and he uses his influence to pull strings even though his brave son has been rejected by several military medical boards.
When PM Maleki faced a parliamentary revolt this year, he could count on Tehran to pull strings of influence over restive fellow Shi'ite politicians in Iraq's majority which saw the Iraqis quickly fall in line again behind the Shi'ite premier.
Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe asked Immigration minister Phil Woolas to pull strings - and Swann, 30, got a new passport in four hours.
--Syria's Assad Promises PA's Abbas to Pull Strings with Hamas
Yesterday the group's leader pleaded with a senior official from the UK's immigration agency - day president at the Eisteddfod - to pull strings to allow the children to dance at least once before the Eisteddfod ends.
IAN MORAN earned his nickname from a famous kids' TV puppet show - now he's ready to pull strings for the Saltires.
Charles has now been able to pull strings in an attempt to force us to accept this divorced women as his 'bride".
Murphy offers no footnote to substantiate it; but the charge is illogical on its face, since Douglas knew he had honorable discharge papers from the Army and thus no need to pull strings. Even if Clifford were dispatched to negotiate some sort of special dispensation from the Carter White House for Douglas, this would have been no big deal.
A reformed (but broke) French scam artist in New York has three days to raise $2,500 to pull strings before the likable scofflaw is faced with deportation.
He used his access to sources to pull strings behind the scenes, and he used the Tribune's pages to solicit support.
However, this group of researchers has managed to train bees to pull strings for rewards.
But it's not the first time he has appeared to pull strings to help Salmond during the campaign.