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Common phrases are draw drapes or shades, draw a bath (pull water?), draw a conclusion (out of someone) and other uses of pull. Why does draw mean pull? It becomes confusing when something that had a visualizable meaning - pulling drapes across a window - has been extended to something that does not make sense - turning Venetian blinds from the open position to closed position. How did this happen?

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Oh Gosh, apparently "pull" is the original meaning of "draw", not producing artwork! Draw comes from a word meaning "to drag", so "drawing" a picture is about dragging the pencil across the paper! I guess I thought that producing artwork as a verb was important enough to have a word of its own, but apparently dragging things is more important. I hate language.

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    Take care! If you despise Great Mother Language, She will take care to put you in a despicable profession with others of the same mind, such as Politics or Marketing. – StoneyB on hiatus Oct 31 '14 at 12:58
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    It's not a matter of "more important": it is simply the older meaning of the word. Words gain new meanings (and sometimes lose old ones): that's in the nature of how language works. – Colin Fine Oct 31 '14 at 13:00
  • @StoneyB: I used to work as a computer programmer, don't get me started on language! The deliberately designed ones are worse than accidental ones! The more "helpful" the worse they are. – user126158 Oct 31 '14 at 20:18
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There is a children's book called 'Amelia Bedelia,' wherein a young girl is hired as a maid and takes things literally. When she is told to dress the chicken, she puts clothes on it, when she is told to dust the furniture, she throws powder on it, draw the drapes, she draws a picture, put out the lights, she hangs them all on the clothesline, and so on. Charming! But yes, in definition, as a verb, to move things towards each other, so water to a tub, curtains towards each other. I suspect the origin is European, but can't find that to be factual. Sounds British and formal, yes? Interesting question though, and thought provoking as to where some of these expressions really come from, love it, keep those brain cells circulating, language can be fun. Would be interesting if you asked a few children what they thought, like Amelia.

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    Can you provide citation from a recognized source? (Though thanks for the memories of Amelia Bedelia! :-) – Kristina Lopez Oct 31 '14 at 13:45
  • I think this answer makes as much sense as anything else, and it is endearing. Words that do double duty as nouns and verbs are tricky. Not to mention intent: compare income protection and fire protection? – user126158 Oct 31 '14 at 20:16

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