Word Origin & History
O.E. pullian "to pluck or draw out," of unknown origin, perhaps related to Low Ger. pulen "remove the shell or husk." Original sense preserved in pull teeth, pull weeds, etc., by late 16c. it had replaced draw as the main word for this activity. The noun meaning "personal or private influence" is 1889
in Amer.Eng. Common verb in slang usages 19c.-20c.; to pull (someone's) chain in figurative sense is from 1980, probably on the notion of a captive animal; to pull (someone's) leg is from 1886, on notion of "playfully tripping." To pull one's punches is from 1934; pull in "arrive" is 1905, from the railroad; to pull (something) on (someone) is from 1916; to pull (something) out of one's ass is Army slang from 1970s. Pullover first recorded 1907. To pull rank is from 1923; to pull the rug from under (someone) is from 1946.