Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR PULL APART

They should not pull apart, nor be disinterested in these matters.

Chicoree flew down in the grass almost under Peter's nose and began to pull apart a dandelion which had gone to seed.

He began to pull apart and bend back the little trees to get a better view of the old stump.

Gash the loaf at the ends and pull apart into halves; then cut the halves and pull apart into quarters.

The prisoner seized the palings as though he meant to pull apart the barrier between them.

No man nor any ten men can pull apart the closed jaws of a man-eating crocodile.

The first aim to be considered is to have the joining strong enough so that it will not pull apart.

If you pull apart the cotyledons very carefully, you find certain other structures between them.

Sheet steel can be welded to cast iron, but will pull apart, tearing out particles of the iron.

Pull the cotton apart, then twist some of it and pull apart; in turn break the branch, the cornstalk and the straw.

WORD ORIGIN

c.1300, "to move forcibly by pulling, to drag," from Old English pullian "to pluck off (wool), to draw out," of unknown origin, perhaps related to Low German pulen "remove the shell or husk," Frisian pûlje "to shell, husk," Middle Dutch polen "to peel, strip," Icelandic pula "work hard."

Early 14c. as "to pick, pull off, gather" (fruit, flowers, berries, leaves, petals, etc.); mid-14c. as "to uproot, pull up" (of teeth, weeds, etc.). Sense of "to draw, attract" (to oneself) is from c.1400; sense of "to pluck at with the fingers" is from c.1400. Meaning "tear to pieces" is mid-15c. By late 16c. it had replaced draw in these senses. Related: Pulled; pulling.

Common in slang usages 19c.-20c.; Bartlett (1859) has to pull foot "walk fast; run;" pull it "to run." To pull up "check a course of action" is from 1808, figurative of the lifting of the reins in horse-riding. To pull (someone's) chain in figurative sense is from 1974, perhaps on the notion of a captive animal; the expression was also used for "to contact" (someone), on the notion of the chain that operates a signaling mechanism.

To pull (someone's) leg is from 1882, perhaps on notion of "playfully tripping" (cf. pull the long bow "exaggerate," 1830, and pulling someone's leg also sometimes was described as a way to awaken a sleeping person in a railway compartment, ship's berth, etc.). Thornton's "American Glossary" (1912) has pull (n.) "a jest" (to have a pull at (someone)), which it identifies as "local" and illustrates with an example from the Massachusetts "Spy" of May 21, 1817, which identifies it as "a Georgian phrase." To pull (one's) punches is from 1920 in pugilism, from 1921 figuratively. To pull in "arrive" (1892) and pull out "depart" (1868) are from the railroads.

To pull (something) off "accomplish, succeed at" is originally in sporting, "to win the prize money" (1870). To pull (something) on (someone) is from 1916; to pull (something) out of one's ass is Army slang from 1970s. To pull rank is from 1919; to pull the rug from under (someone) figuratively is from 1946.

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR PULL APART

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.