A prior question asks about the origin of the phrase "pulling for you," a phrase that conveys well-wishes and support (Merriam-Webster):

US, informal

: to say or show that one hopes (someone or something) will succeed, get well, etc.

We're all pulling for you (to get well).

I'm pulling for the home team.

Today, I am more interested in the recent prevalence of the idiom "pulling for you." Basically, is it generally known across the US, as Merriam-Webster suggests, or is it now more common in more or fewer dialects? Would it be recognized or used in another country's dialect, like in a British, Canadian, Indian, or Irish context?

When I used the term recently, I realized I don't have a sense of how common or widespread the turn of phrase is. As for the Merriam-Wesbter note, I wonder if it's outdated. I have come across examples of non-US usage, like the BBC using the expression to describe the crowd during Ian Woosnam's 1991 Masters run:

The partisan crowd were once again pulling for Watson as Woosnam's ball disappeared under water. (James Pontin. "The Masters: Ian Woosnam Recalls His 1991 Augusta Triumph, 30 Years On." BBC Sport Wales, 7 April 2021.)

So it's conceivable the usage has spread beyond the US, but I hope someone can answer more definitively.

  • 1
    Try "pull for the team" on BBC Sport. It's common enough. And here: It really isn't pleasant or sensible to do nothing or ignore the obvious. The consequences could be dreadful, focused without distractions we all pull for the team. toffeeweb.com/season/22-23/news/43226.html The problem with questions like this is that it places the burden on those who answer since only googling etc. will provide any proof of anything. I just found it in Ireland but I am not prepared to search: site:.ca, site:.in, site:nz, to mention a few.
    – Lambie
    Jan 17 at 16:17
  • Be brave rather than common or widespread, as we're pulling for you. Jan 17 at 16:28
  • @YosefBaskin Pulling for you or rooting for you means to stand behind someone, to support them in their endeavors.
    – Lambie
    Jan 17 at 16:41
  • I meant that we can use a term without worrying that it's common or not. Jan 17 at 16:44
  • 1
    Usage examples for “pull for” from late 19th c. till recent years are all from AmE greensdictofslang.com/entry/nx2h44i#y3evv7y
    – Gio
    Jan 17 at 19:14

1 Answer 1


While it is used in the UK, "rooting for someone/thing/team" is more common than "pulling for someone/thing/team."

"Rooting" is like cheering the team on, hoping for them as opposed to "pulling" which is like a short form of "pulling together" implying some form of actual involvement towards the outcome.

Perhaps "pulling" is less common now as in some places it can have a vulgar meaning.

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