Is there a word or phrase that succinctly describes the act of pulling the chair when someone's sitting?

If there isn't a word or phrase that describes this act is that (pulling the chair when someone's sitting) an appropriate description of the act?

  • How about 'bloody stupid'?
    – WS2
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 20:59
  • @WS2 Huh? So it would go "He did a bloody stupid with him?". Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:01
  • I would probably add 'thing'. He did a 'bloody stupid thing' with him.
    – WS2
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:07
  • @WS2 Question updated. Plus that doesn't sound decent, irrespective of the fact that the act might not be decent (keeping aside close friends). Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:09
  • 1
    Apparently it's practically a national sport in India. Who is the best Chair puller ? Chiranjeevi or Balayya or Naresh? Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 23:50

4 Answers 4


Clunky as it seems, there is a preponderance of examples of "pulled the chair out from under..." in Google. It is also idiomatic to mean that someone is caught off-guard or unprepared as in this example:

Grizzlies pull chair out from under Durant and Thunder, take Game 2, 99-93

  • 2
    Yep, if the person has not yet completely sat down then "pulling the chair out from under him" is the the set phrase that I've always heard. Never heard a single word for it, or even a shorter phrase.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 3:26

I doubt it. Do you know any language that would have a word for it? :-)


Decathedration? Used by Alexander Hamilton in 'The History of the Ancient and Venerable Tuesday Club'(1745-1756). Although I admit the accompanying illustration shows on that occasion they're pulling the sitting person out of the chair, rather than the chair from under the sitting person.



The best generic description might be "pratfall", which began as an expression that meant "to fall on your buttocks".

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