1 a : to exert force upon so as to cause or tend to cause motion toward the force b : to stretch (cooling candy) repeatedly c : to strain abnormally d : to hold back (a racehorse) from winning e : to work (an oar) by drawing back stronglyhttp://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictiona...
1. To operate (an oar) in rowing.
2. To transport or propel by rowing.
3. To be rowed by: That boat pulls six oars.http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50192139?...
25. a. intr. To pull on an oar or oars so as to move a boat, to row
; to proceed by rowing; (also) to travel in a rowing boat. See also to pull away 2 at Phrasal verbs.
to pull stroke: see STROKE n.1 13d.
1630 J. TAYLOR Wks. 22 And as our Oares thus downe the Riuer pull'd, Oft with a Fowling-peece the Gulls we gull'd. 1748 Anson's Voy. II. ix. 230 They exerted their utmost strength in pulling out to sea. 1794 A. RADCLIFFE Myst. Udolpho III. 388 The boatmen pulled hard at their oars; but the thunder..made the Count determine to put back to the monastery for shelter. 1823 Sat. Evening Post 12 July 1/5 Line your oars boys, pull ahead..pull ahead, I tell you, why don't ye. 1854 Times 10 May 9/5 After a hard struggle the crew pulled clear of the bows and were battling the full force of the short thick waves that broke on all sides. 1855 MACAULAY Hist. Eng. IV. xx. 511 He ordered his men to pull for the beach. 1859 J. R. GREEN Oxf. Stud. (O.H.S.) 17 Familiar to Oxford men pulling lazily on a summer's noon to Godstow. 1907 G. JOHN Voice from China xi. 222 We pulled out and anchored in mid-stream. 1925 W. FAULKNER Let. Mar. in Thinking of Home (1992) 192 Another fellow and I took the skiff and pulled back down the river
. 1989 P. O'BRIAN Thirteen Gun Salute (1992) v. 128 The rowers rising from the thwarts as they pulled, straining their oars to the breaking-point.
b. trans. To pull on (an oar)
; to propel by rowing, to row (a boat); (also) to transport (a person or thing) by rowing boat. Also (occas.) intr.: (of a boat) to allow of being rowed (in a specified way).
to pull one's weight: see Phrases 9.
1674 T. DUFFETT Empress of Morocco i. 2 Boat does move as man does pull her, In greater State you ne're saw Sculler. 1679 J. LEANERD Counterfeits IV. iv. 42 He's doubly curst is foundred near the Shore: Fortune the Rudder guide, I'll pull the Oar. 1740 D. HUME Treat. Human Nature III. II. 60 Two men, who pull the oars of a boat, do it by an agreement or convention, tho' they have never given promises to each other. 1769 W. FALCONER Universal Dict. Marine (1789) sig. Ddd, Pull the starboard oars, and hold water with the larboard oars! 1805 J. SMITH in Naval Chron. 15 75 The other [boat], from pulling heavy, not being able to get up. 1820 J. H. REYNOLDS Fancy (1906) 35 Oft on Sundays, scorning land,..I've pulled a girl, with blister'd hand, And bleeding heart, through Chelsea Reach! 1834 F. MARRYAT Jacob Faithful II. iv. 81 You know old deaf Stapleton, whose wherry we have so often pulled up and down the river? 1864 DICKENS Our Mutual Friend (1865) I. I. i. 1 The girl rowed, pulling a pair of sculls very easily. 1905 Galveston (Texas) Daily News 9 July 24/4 There they stuck until a boatman or two with strong arms and oars pulled them across the channel. 1974 E. BOWEN Henry & Other Heroes iii. 55 During college he had pulled a genteel oar on the University of Pennsylvania crew. 1993 D. C. REECE Rich Broth iii. 15 We taught sea cadets knots and signals and how to pull an oar.
c. trans. Of a boat: to be fitted or rowed with (a specified number of oars).
1804 in Ld. Nelson Dispatches & Lett. (1845) V. 496 She should be fitted so as to pull thirty-eight sweeps and two skulls. 1837 F. MARRYAT Snarleyyow xxx, The lugger pulled eighteen oars, was clinker built, and very swift. 1870 Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) (Electronic text) 24 Aug., Sixth Race... For Dores and Canoes not over 20 Feet, pulling two Oars, with liberty to steer with Paddle and use it. 1933 Times 12 June 6/6 The race is rowed..in gigs pulling six oars over a two-mile course. 1985 Lifeboat Winter 264/1 Wick's first lifeboat, 28ft pulling 12 oars, arrived on station that same November.
d. intr. Of a boat: to be rowed (in a particular direction). See also to pull away 3a at Phrasal verbs. Now rare or merged in sense 15e.
1831 J. F. COOPER Water-witch II. viii. 114 Our barge is pulling along the land, and the launch appears to be lying off the inlet. 1836 F. MARRYAT Mr. Midshipman Easy I. xiii. 212 The boats pulled in shore. 1988 P. O'BRIAN Letter of Marque (1992) iii. 104 The boats pulled fast across the water, with never a sound but the creak of thwarts and thole-pins.