to cause to move in a particular direction by or as if by a pulling force; pull; drag (often followed by along, away, in, out, or off).
to bring, take, or pull out, as from a receptacle or source:
to draw water from a well.
to bring toward oneself or itself, as by inherent force or influence; attract:
The concert drew a large audience.
to sketch (someone or something) in lines or words; delineate; depict:
to draw a vase with charcoal; to draw the comedy’s characters with skill.
to compose or create (a picture) in lines.
to mark or lay out; trace:
to draw perpendicular lines.
to frame or formulate:
to draw a distinction.
to write out in legal form (sometimes followed by up):
Draw up the contract.
to inhale or suck in:
to draw liquid through a straw.
to derive or use, as from a source:
to draw inspiration from Shakespeare.
to deduce; infer:
to draw a conclusion.
to get, take, or receive, as from a source:
to draw interest on a savings account; to draw a salary of $600 a week.
to withdraw funds from a drawing account, especially against future commissions on sales.
to produce; bring in:
The deposits draw interest.
to disembowel:
to draw a turkey.
to drain:
to draw a pond.
to pull out to full or greater length; make by attenuating; stretch:
to draw filaments of molten glass.
to bend (a bow) by pulling back its string in preparation for shooting an arrow.
to choose or to have assigned to one at random, by or as by picking an unseen number, item, etc.:
Let’s draw straws to see who has to wash the car.
Metalworking. to form or reduce the sectional area of (a wire, tube, etc.) by pulling through a die.
to wrinkle or shrink by contraction.
Medicine/Medical. to cause to discharge:
to draw an abscess by a poultice.
to obtain (rations, clothing, equipment, weapons, or ammunition) from an issuing agency, as an army quartermaster.
Nautical. (of a vessel) to need (a specific depth of water) to float:
She draws six feet.
to leave (a contest) undecided; finish with neither side winning, as in a tie.

to take or be dealt (a card or cards) from the pack.
Bridge. to remove the outstanding cards in (a given suit) by leading that suit:
He had to draw spades first in order to make the contract.

Billiards. to cause (a cue ball) to recoil after impact by giving it a backward spin on the stroke.
Northeastern U.S. (chiefly New England) to haul; cart.
Hunting. to search (a covert) for game.
Cricket. to play (a ball) with a bat held at an angle in order to deflect the ball between the wicket and the legs.
Curling. to slide (the stone) gently.
to steep (tea) in boiling water.
to form or shape (glass) as it comes from the furnace by stretching.
to exert a pulling, moving, or attracting force:
A sail draws by being properly trimmed and filled with wind.
to move or pass, especially slowly or continuously, as under a pulling force (often followed by on, off, out, etc.):
The day draws near.
to take out a sword, pistol, etc., for action.
to hold a drawing, lottery, or the like:
to draw for prizes.
to sketch or to trace figures; create a picture or depict by sketching.
to be skilled in or practice the art of sketching:
I can’t paint, but I can draw.
to shrink or contract (often followed by up).
to make a demand (usually followed by on or upon):
to draw on one’s imagination.

to act as an irritant; cause blisters.
to cause blood, pus, or the like to gather at a specific point.

to produce or permit a draft, as a pipe or flue.
to leave a contest undecided; tie.

to search a covert for game.
to follow a game animal by its scent.

to attract customers, an audience, etc.:
Our newspaper advertisement drew very well.
to pull back the string of a bow in preparation for shooting an arrow.
an act of drawing.
something that attracts customers, an audience, etc.
something that is moved by being drawn, as the movable part of a drawbridge.
something that is chosen or drawn at random, as a lot or chance.
drawing (defs 5, 6).
a contest that ends in a tie; an undecided contest.
Also called draw play. Football. a play in which the quarterback fades as if to pass and then hands the ball to a back, usually the fullback, who is running toward the line of scrimmage.

a card or cards taken or dealt from the pack.
draw poker.

Physical Geography.

a small, natural drainageway with a shallow bed; gully.
the dry bed of a stream.
Chiefly Western U.S. a coulee; ravine.

the pull necessary to draw a bow to its full extent.
an amount regularly drawn, as from a drawing account.
a fund, as an expense account or credit line, from which money may be withdrawn when needed.
Horology. the tendency of a tooth of an escape wheel to force toward the center of the wheel a pallet engaging with it.
draw ahead,

to gradually pass something moving in the same direction.
Nautical. (of the wind) to blow from a direction closer to that in which a vessel is moving; haul forward.
Compare veer1 (def 2b).

draw away,

to move or begin to move away:
He drew his hand away from the hot stove.
to move farther ahead:
The lead runner gradually drew away from his competitor.

draw down, to deplete or be depleted through use or consumption:
to draw down crude-oil supplies.
draw in,

to cause to take part or enter, especially unwittingly:
I heard them debating the point, but I avoided being drawn in.
to make a rough sketch of:
to draw in a person’s figure against the landscape background.

draw off, to move back or away.
draw on,

to come nearer; approach:
He sensed winter drawing on.
to clothe oneself in:
She drew on her cape and gloves.
Nautical. (of a vessel) to gain on (another vessel).
to utilize or make use of, especially as a source:
The biography has drawn heavily on personal interviews.

draw out,

to pull out; remove.
to prolong; lengthen.
to persuade to speak:
You’ll find she’s quite interesting if you take the trouble to draw her out.
Nautical. (of a vessel) to move away from (sometimes followed by from):
The boat drew out from the wharf.
to take (money) from a place of deposit:
She drew her money out of the bank and invested it in bonds.

draw up,

to devise or formulate; draft, especially in legal form or as a formal proposal:
to draw up a will.
to put into position; arrange in order or formation:
The officer drew up his men.
to bring or come to a stop; halt:
Their car drew up at the curb.

beat to the draw, to react quicker than an opponent.
draw oneself up, to assume an erect posture.
luck of the draw. luck (def 10).
Contemporary Examples

The real takeaway, though, was that not just anyone can be a great artist, but anyone can learn to draw.
There’s Nothing Wrong—and a Lot That’s Right—About Copying Other Artists Malcolm Jones January 25, 2014

I had to draw the line so close to myself that I essentially gave up almost any contact with married men.
A Writer’s Secret Life, Part II Susan Cheever October 8, 2008

It’s often said that he’d much rather be a U.S. senator, a job in which he could draw on his long legislative experience.
What Paterson Got Right Reihan Salam March 4, 2010

One can only draw the conclusion that either one of those two things is happening.
Scott Walker Survives Recall, but Investigations May Zero In on Him Matthew DeLuca June 5, 2012

Consequently, this is an issue where the administration can afford to draw lines in the sand and refuse to compromise.
How to Win 2010 Matthew Yglesias January 9, 2010

Historical Examples

So that her next attempt to draw him out was edged with temper.
The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance

How’ll they know that it was luck—that my gun stuck in the holster—and that you jumped me on the draw?
Way of the Lawless Max Brand

He longed to draw closer to the spot, but he knew that he dared not move.
The Hound From The North Ridgwell Cullum

It were a pity, if all this outcry should draw no customers.
A Rill from the Town Pump (From “Twice Told Tales”) Nathaniel Hawthorne

Not two words together, from which you can draw any reasonable conclusion.
The Wandering Jew, Complete Eugene Sue

verb draws, drawing, drew, drawn
to cause (a person or thing) to move towards or away by pulling
to bring, take, or pull (something) out, as from a drawer, holster, etc
(transitive) to extract or pull or take out: to draw teeth, to draw a card from a pack
(transitive) often foll by off. to take (liquid) out of a cask, keg, tank, etc, by means of a tap
(intransitive) to move, go, or proceed, esp in a specified direction: to draw alongside
(transitive) to attract or elicit: to draw a crowd, draw attention
(transitive) to cause to flow: to draw blood
to depict or sketch (a form, figure, picture, etc) in lines, as with a pencil or pen, esp without the use of colour; delineate
(transitive) to make, formulate, or derive: to draw conclusions, comparisons, parallels
(transitive) to write (a legal document) in proper form
(transitive) sometimes foll by in. to suck or take in (air, liquid, etc): to draw a breath
(intransitive) to induce or allow a draught to carry off air, smoke, etc: the flue draws well
(transitive) to take or receive from a source: to draw money from the bank
(transitive) to earn: draw interest
(transitive) (finance) to write out (a bill of exchange or promissory note): to draw a cheque
(transitive) to choose at random: to draw lots
(transitive) to reduce the diameter of (a wire or metal rod) by pulling it through a die
(transitive) to shape (a sheet of metal or glass) by rolling, by pulling it through a die or by stretching
(archery) to bend (a bow) by pulling the string
to steep (tea) or (of tea) to steep in boiling water
(transitive) to disembowel: draw a chicken
(transitive) to cause (pus, blood, etc) to discharge from an abscess or wound
(intransitive) (of two teams, contestants, etc) to finish a game with an equal number of points, goals, etc; tie
(transitive) (bridge, whist) to keep leading a suit in order to force out (all outstanding cards)
(bridge, whist) draw trumps, to play the trump suit until the opponents have none left
(transitive) (billiards) to cause (the cue ball) to spin back after a direct impact with another ball by applying backspin when making the stroke
(transitive) to search (a place) in order to find wild animals, game, etc, for hunting
(golf) to cause (a golf ball) to move with a controlled right-to-left trajectory or (of a golf ball) to veer gradually from right to left
(transitive) (curling) to deliver (the stone) gently
(transitive) (nautical) (of a vessel) to require (a certain depth) in which to float
draw a blank, to get no results from something
draw and quarter, to disembowel and dismember (a person) after hanging
(cricket) draw stumps, to close play, as by pulling out the stumps
draw the line, See line1 (sense 51)
draw the short straw, See short straw
(bowls) draw the shot, to deliver the bowl in such a way that it approaches the jack
the act of drawing
(US) a sum of money advanced to finance anticipated expenses
an event, occasion, act, etc, that attracts a large audience
a raffle or lottery
something taken or chosen at random, as a ticket in a raffle or lottery
a contest or game ending in a tie
(US & Canadian) a small natural drainage way or gully
a defect found in metal castings due to the contraction of the metal on solidification

c.1200, spelling alteration of Old English dragan “to drag, to draw, protract” (class VI strong verb; past tense drog, past participle dragen), from Proto-Germanic *draganan “carry” (cf. Old Norse draga “to draw,” Old Saxon dragan, Old Frisian draga, Middle Dutch draghen, Old High German tragen, German tragen “to carry, bear”), from PIE root *dhragh- (see drag (v.)).

Sense of “make a line or figure” (by “drawing” a pencil across paper) is c.1200. Meaning “pull out a weapon” is c.1200. To draw a criminal (drag him from a horse to place of execution) is from early 14c. To draw a blank “come up with nothing” (1825) is an image from lotteries. As a noun, from 1660s; colloquial sense of “anything that can draw a crowd” is from 1881 (the verb in this sense is 1580s).

game or contest that ends without a winner, attested first in drawn match (1610s), of uncertain origin; some speculate it is from withdraw. Draw-game is from 1825. As a verb, “to leave undecided,” from 1837.


A puff on a pipe, cigarette, etc; drag, toke (1876+)
(also drawing card) Something that attracts: A skin flick is always a good draw (1881+)

Related Terms

get (or draw) a bead on something or someone, the luck of the draw, quick on the draw, slow on the draw

draw a bead on
draw a blank
draw a line between
draw a veil over
draw an inference
draw and quarter
draw away
draw back
draw blood
draw down
draw fire
draw in
draw in one’s horns
draw in the reins
draw on
draw out
draw straws
draw the curtain
draw the line at
draw up


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