Trying to pull?

I just heard this question on the tube this week, “What are you trying to pull?”. Obviously, I have no clue what it means. So, I’d like you to help with this, please.


P.S: Not sure if it is “pull”.

It means ‘what trick/ruse are you trying to accomplish?’

Or “which girl/boy/man/woman are you trying to succeed in starting a sexual relationship with”? British English slang.

Mister M’s interpretation applies in BrE too.

For Molly’s interpretation, in BrE slang, you would say not “What”, but “Who are you trying to pull?”.

Best wishes,


You really need to do a bit of out-of-the-box thinking, MrP.

A young woman (Sp1) fixing her make up in the bathroom of a nightclub. A female friend (Sp2) walks in the door.

Sp1: Kaz, what on earth are you doing out there? What are you trying to pull? He’s so blo*dy ugly.

Sp2: Well he’s better than what you pulled last week.


What was that I saw you with last night? She looked a bit rough.

I should have added that “pull” in the sense that Molly mentions tends to occur in certain set phrases; “Who are you trying to pull?” would be an unusual use of the term.

As for “what are you trying to pull?”: in BrE, that phrase would be extremely unlikely to suggest a context of “starting a sexual relationship”. Mister M’s interpretation is the right one.


Ok…I appreciate your explanations. However, I think you got off the track here; Because the British meaning was added now…So, could you split the British and the American usage up in two? Please…

Thank you so much!

Hi Serzige

The interpretation that Mr Micawber gave you is valid in both BE and AmE.
I would expect that to be the meaning of the sentence you heard. In other words:

  • What kind of deception/trick/ruse are you trying to carry out?

The question itself would generally be rhetorical.

I have never heard Molly’s interpretation before. However, the Cambridge Dictionary does list the following informal British expression (which is not quite the same as what you posted):
to be on the pull … &dict=CALD

That’s because the fixed phrase is “trying to pull” and the question part is not part of that.