0

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 As for the Merriam-Wesbter note, I wonder if it's outdated.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.

6
  • 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

3

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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.