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draw definition


This page has 87 definitions of draw in English and Welsh. Draw is a verb, noun and adverb. Examples of how to use draw in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

English draw definition


From Middle English drawen, draȝen, dragen (to drag, pull, push, draw (out), go to, make, add, etc.),[1] from Old English dragan, from Proto-West Germanic *dragan, from Proto-Germanic *draganą, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰregʰ- (to draw, pull). Doublet of drag and draught.


Rhymes: -ɔː
Homophone: drawer (UK)


draw (third-person singular simple present draws, present participle drawing, simple past drew, past participle drawn or (colloquial and nonstandard) drew)

  1. To pull or exert force.
    1. To pull (something) in a particular manner or direction. [from 8th c.]
      He drew a sheaf of papers from his bag.
    2. To drag (a person, thing, or part of the body), especially along the ground. [from 10th c.]
      • 1697, William Dampier, A New Voyage Round the World:
        Seals [] throw their bodies forward, drawing their hinder-parts after them.
    3. (transitive) To pull (a plough, vehicle etc.); to cause (something) to move forwards by pulling it. [from 11th c.]
    4. (archery) To pull back (the string of a bow) in preparation for shooting. [from 12th c.]
    5. To move (a part of one's body) in a particular direction. [from 13th c.]
      She settled in the window seat, drawing her leg up beneath her.
    6. To pull (a curtain, blinds etc.) open or closed. [from 13th c.]
      You should draw the curtains at night.
      • 1944 November and December, “"Duplex Roomette" Sleeping Cars”, in Railway Magazine, page 324:
        It is realised that the old Pullman standard sleeper, with its convertible "sections", each containing upper and lower berths, and with no greater privacy at night than the curtains drawn along both sides of a middle aisle, has had its day.
      She drew the curtains to let in the sunlight.
    7. (intransitive, now rare) To pull something along; to have force to move anything by pulling. [from 14th c.]
      This horse draws well.
    8. To pull (one's face, features) out of shape, from emotion etc. [from 14th c.]
    9. (now rare) To construct (a wall, canal etc.) from one point to another. [from 15th c.]
    10. To require (a depth of water) for floating. [from 15th c.]
      A ship draws ten feet of water.
    11. (reflexive) To assume a specific position or attitude. [from 17th c.]
      He drew himself to his full height and glowered at the interloper.
    12. To pull (a belt or other item) so that it tightens or wraps around something more closely. [from 17th c.]
      She took a deep breath and drew her corset-strings.
    13. (curling) To make a shot that lands gently in the house (the circular target) without knocking out other stones. [from 18th c.]
    14. (intransitive, now rare) To be pulled along (in a specified way). [from 19th c.]
      The carriage draws easily.
    15. (cricket) To play (a short-length ball directed at the leg stump) with an inclined bat so as to deflect the ball between the legs and the wicket. [from 19th c.]
    16. (golf) To hit (the ball) with the toe of the club so that it is deflected toward the left. [from 19th c.]
    17. (billiards) To strike (the cue ball) below the center so as to give it a backward rotation which causes it to take a backward direction on striking another ball. [from 19th c.]
  2. To attract, exert an influence on.
    1. To induce (the mind, eyes, attention etc.) to be directed at or focused on something. [from 9th c.]
      From the moment she entered the room, all eyes were drawn to her.
      His mind was drawn back to the events of the preceding morning.
      • 1964 April, “Letters: Rethinking emergency procedures”, in Modern Railways, page 274:
        Handsignalmen, where needed, ought to wear a conspicuous orange/yellow cape (like many road workmen) to draw attention to them.
    2. To cause (someone) to come to a particular place, condition, or course of action; to attract (a person). [from 12th c.]
      • 1913, Joseph C[rosby] Lincoln, chapter V, in Mr. Pratt’s Patients, New York, N.Y., London: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, →OCLC:
        A place like the Right Livers' Rest was bound to draw freaks, same as molasses draws flies.
      • 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 5, in Death on the Centre Court:
        The restaurant was packed, and the promenade between the two main courts and the subsidiary courts was thronged with healthy-looking youngish people, drawn to the Mecca of tennis from all parts of the country.
    3. To take (air, smoke etc.) into the lungs; to inhale. [from 13th c.]
      I drew a deep breath and wiped my brow.
      • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
        Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. [] She put back a truant curl from her forehead where it had sought egress to the world, and looked him full in the face now, drawing a deep breath which caused the round of her bosom to lift the lace at her throat.
      • 1979, Monty Python, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life:
        So always look on the bright side of death, / Just before you draw your terminal breath.
    4. (transitive, intransitive) To attract (something) by means of a physical force, especially magnetism or gravity; (figurative) to act as an inducement or enticement. [from 14th c.]
      • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “(please specify |century=I to X)”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] William Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], →OCLC:
        These following bodies do not draw: smaragd, achates, corneolus, pearl, jaspis, chalcedonius, alabaster, porphyry, coral, marble, touchstone, haematites, or bloodstone []
      • 1711 August 7 (Gregorian calendar), Joseph Addison, Richard Steele [et al.], “FRIDAY, July 27, 1711”, in The Spectator, number 128; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, [], volume II, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, →OCLC:
        Keep a watch upon the particular bias which nature has fixed in their minds, that it may not draw too much.
    5. To cause (something); to bring (something) about as a consequence. [from 14th c.]
    6. To provoke or attract (a particular response or reaction). [from 16th c.]
      The president's comments have drawn strong criticism from rightwing media outlets.
    7. (intransitive) To have a draught; to allow air to be passed through in order to allow for combustion. [from 18th c.]
      The chimney won't draw properly if it's clogged up with soot.
  3. To extend, protract.
    1. (obsolete) To extend the duration of (something); to prolong. [10th–19th c.]
    2. To make (wire) by pulling it through an aperture; to stretch (metal) into a wire. [from 13th c.]
      to draw a mass of metal into wire
    3. To stretch or elongate. [from 14th c.]
      The dough was run through the pasta machine and drawn into a long ribbon.
    4. (intransitive) To become contracted; to shrink. [from 17th c.]
      • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “(please specify |century=I to X)”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] William Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], →OCLC:
        water [] will shrink or draw into less room
    5. (nautical) Of a sail, to fill with wind. [from 17th c.]
      A ship's sail is said to draw when it is filled with wind.
  4. To move, travel, approach.
    1. (reflexive, now rare) To move in a specific direction. [from 12th c.]
      • 1794, Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho:
        She thought she heard a noise in her chamber, and she drew herself within the casement.
    2. (intransitive, used with prepositions and adverbs) To move steadily in a particular direction or into a specific position. [from 13th c.]
      The runners drew level with each other as they approached the finish line.
      Draw near to the fire and I will tell you a tale.
      The end of the world draws near.
      Heavy clouds drew together above our heads.
    3. To come to, towards (a particular moment in time); to approach (a time). [from 14th c.]
      As it drew towards evening, I packed up and headed for home.
      • 1962 October, “The Victoria Line was only part of the plan”, in Modern Railways, page 258:
        As the war drew to its end, it became evident that repairs and rebuilding in the heavily blitzed Greater London area would be so extensive as to afford opportunity for effective large-scale planning.
    4. (hunting, now rare) To search for game; to track a quarry. [from 16th c.]
  5. To extract, remove, select.
    1. To pull out, unsheathe (a sword, firearm etc.). [from 12th c.]
      They drew their swords and fought each other.
    2. To take (water) from a well or other source. [from 13th c.]
      draw water from a well
    3. To disembowel (someone); to remove the viscera from (an animal), especially before cooking. [from 13th c.]
      • 1709, William King, The Art of Cookery:
        In private draw your poultry, clean your tripe.
    4. (transitive, medicine, now rare) To extract (pus, humours, etc.) by means of medical treatment. [from 14th c.]
    5. To select (an item) at random to decide which of a group of people will receive or undergo something; to select (a person) by this process. [from 14th c.]
      • 1784, Edward Augustus Freeman, An essay on parliamentary representation, and the magistracies of our boroughs royal: [][1]:
        Provided magistracies were filled by men freely chosen or drawn.
    6. To conduct (a lottery); to select (the numbers) for a lottery; to win (a prize) in a lottery. [from 16th c.]
      The winning lottery numbers were drawn every Tuesday.
      • 1859, Charles Dickens, The Haunted House:
        In the drawing of lots, my sister drew her own room, and I drew Master B.'s.
    7. To extract (a tooth). [from 16th c.]
    8. To extract (juice, fluids etc.) from something by pressure, osmosis or similar. [from 16th c.]
      • 1705, George Cheyne, Philosophical Principles of Religion Natural and Revealed:
        Spirits, by distillations, may be drawn out of vegetable juices, which shall flame and fume of themselves.
    9. (card games) To take or be dealt (a card) from the deck; to have (a particular hand) as a result of this. [from 16th c.]
      At the start of their turn, each player must draw a card.
    10. (transitive, obsolete) To withdraw. [from 17th c.]
    11. (transitive or intransitive) To end a game in a draw (with neither side winning). [from 17th c.]
      We drew last time we played.  I drew him last time I played him.  I drew my last game against him.
      • 1922, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Chessmen of Mars, HTML edition, The Gutenberg Project, published 2010:
        The game is won when a player places any of his pieces on the same square with his opponent's Princess, or when a Chief takes a Chief. It is drawn when a Chief is taken by any opposing piece other than the opposing Chief; []
    12. (intransitive, transitive) To steep; to leave (tea) temporarily in water to allow the flavour to increase. [from 18th c.]
      • 1930, Norman Lindsay, Redheap, Sydney, N.S.W.: Ure Smith, published 1965, →OCLC, page 207:
        "There's your tay set for you an' drawin' nicely this minute, Miss Ethel," called old Bridget from the hall.
      • 1984, Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac, Penguin, published 2016, page 119:
        She made a pot of very strong tea, and while she was waiting for it to draw she opened the kitchen door to inspect her garden.
      Tea is much nicer if you let it draw for more than two minutes before pouring.
    13. (intransitive) To take or be dealt a playing card from the deck. See also draw out.
      Jill has four diamonds; she'll try to draw for a flush.
    14. To run (a bath). [from 19th c.]
    15. (analogous) To consume (power).
      The circuit draws three hundred watts.
  6. To obtain, elicit.
    1. To take (something) from a particular source, especially of information; to derive. [from 13th c.]
      He drew comfort from the thought that he was not the first to suffer this way.
      She draws her subject matter from the events of her own life.
    2. To call forth (something) from a person, to elicit. [from 14th c.]
    3. To deduce or infer (a conclusion); to make (a deduction). [from 16th c.]
      He tried to draw a conclusion from the facts.
    4. To receive (a salary); to withdraw (money) from a bank etc. [from 16th c.]
      to draw money from a bank
    5. To elicit information from (someone); to induce (a person) to speak on some subject. (Now frequently in passive.) [from 19th c.]
      He refused to be drawn on the subject
  7. To represent.
    1. (transitive) To produce (a shape, figure, picture etc.) with pencil, crayon, chalk, or other implement. [from 14th c.]
      A crude picture had been drawn on the wall of his poky apartment.
    2. (transitive) To depict (something) linguistically; to portray in words. [from 14th c.]
      Her first novel contained a host of characters who were richly and convincingly drawn.
    3. (transitive) To draw up, compose (a document). [from 14th c.]
      to draw a memorial, a deed, or bill of exchange
    4. (intransitive) To produce an image of something by artistic means; to make drawings. [from 15th c.]
      When I came in she was drawing on a big piece of coloured paper.
    5. (transitive) To produce a visual representation of (a person or thing) by lines and marks with pencil, pen, paints etc. [from 16th c.]
      • 1774, [Oliver] Goldsmith, Retaliation: A Poem. [], new (2nd) edition, London: [] G[eorge] Kearsly, [], →OCLC, page 10:
        A flattering painter, vvho made it his care / To dravv men as they ought to be, not as they are.
      • 1718, Mat[thew] Prior, “To Mr. Howard: An Ode”, in Poems on Several Occasions, London: [] Jacob Tonson [], and John Barber [], →OCLC, stanza I, page 70:
        Can I untouch'd the Fair ones Paſſions move? / Or Thou draw Beauty, and not feel it's Pow'r?
      • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter III, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
        Sepia Delft tiles surrounded the fireplace, their crudely drawn Biblical scenes in faded cyclamen blending with the pinkish pine, while above them, instead of a mantelshelf, there was an archway high enough to form a balcony with slender balusters and a tapestry-hung wall behind.


Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


draw (countable and uncountable, plural draws)

  1. That which draws: that which attracts e.g. a crowd.
    • 2007 June 24, Joyce Hor-Chung Lau, “Hong Kong Is Reshaped by Mainlanders”, in The New York Times[2], →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2015-06-05, Asia Pacific‎[3]:
      At the mountain’s base is the leafy suburb of Kowloon Tong. It has never been a big tourist draw, but in the decade since territorial control returned to China, this quintessentially Hong Kong neighborhood has had many more visitors — and important changes.
    • 2012, Christoper Zara, Tortured Artists: From Picasso and Monroe to Warhol and Winehouse, the Twisted Secrets of the World's Most Creative Minds, part 1, chapter 1, 27:
      After It, Clara became one of the top box-office draws in Hollywood, but her popularity was short lived.
  2. The act of drawing:
    1. The act of drawing a gun from a holster, etc.
      the Wild West's quick-draw champion
    2. The procedure by which the result of a lottery is determined.
      The draw is on Saturday.
      • 2011 January 29, Chris Bevan, “Torquay 0 - 1 Crawley Town”, in BBC[4]:
        Having spent more than £500,000 on players last summer, Crawley can hardly be classed as minnows but they have still punched way above their weight and this kind of performance means no-one will relish pulling them out of the hat in Sunday's draw.
    3. (archery) The act of pulling back the strings in preparation of firing; the distance the strings are pulled back.
      • 2016 August 25, Mike Loades, The Composite Bow, Bloomsbury Publishing, →ISBN, page 21:
        This configuration offered the capacity for an exceptionally long draw – Manchu archers drew all the way back to the point of the right shoulder []
  3. The result of drawing:
    1. The result of a contest that neither side has won; a tie.
      The game ended in a draw.
    2. (cricket) The result of a two-innings match in which at least one side did not complete all their innings before time ran out (as distinguished from a tie).
  4. That which is drawn (e.g. funds from an account).
    They're going to take away our draw! (referring to e.g. disability assistance)
    1. In a commission-based job, an advance on future (potential) commissions given to an employee by the employer.
  5. Draft: flow through a flue of gasses (smoke) resulting from a combustion process, possibly adjustable with a damper.
    • 1981, Stephen King, Do the Dead Sing?:
      She looked in [to the stove] and a tight, dismayed gasp escaped her. She slammed the door shut and adjusted the draw with trembling fingers. For a moment—just a moment—she had seen her old friend Annabelle Frane in the coals.
  6. (sports) The spin or twist imparted to a ball etc. by a drawing stroke.
  7. (golf) A golf shot that (for the right-handed player) curves intentionally to the left. See hook, slice, fade.
  8. (curling) A shot that is intended to land gently in the house (the circular target) without knocking out other stones; cf. takeout.
  9. (geography) A dry stream bed that drains surface water only during periods of heavy rain or flooding.
    • 1918, Willa Cather, My Ántonia, Mirado Modern Classics, paperback edition, page 15
      The garden, curiously enough, was a quarter of a mile from the house, and the way to it led up a shallow draw past the cattle corral.
  10. (slang, countable) A bag of cannabis.
    • 2011, Yvonne Ellis, Daughter, Arise: A Journey from Devastation to Restoration, page 54:
      So my friends and I would all chip in money to get a bag of weed or a draw.
  11. (slang, uncountable) Cannabis.
    • 2003, “Soap Bar”, in The Manifesto[5], performed by Goldie Looking Chain:
      Selling draw to your mates but it's really Oxo cubes.
    • 2017, Michael Coleman, Old Skool Rave, page 139:
      Mick spoke to Simon, who was more of a drinker. He said that people who smoked draw were boring.
  12. (poker) A situation in which one or more players has four cards of the same suit or four out of five necessary cards for a straight and requires a further card to make their flush or straight.
    • 2007, Ryan Wiseman, Earn $30,000 Per Month Playing Online Poker: A Step-By-Step Guide to Single, page 82:
      The player to your left immediately raises you the minimum by clicking the raise button. This action immediately suggests that he's on a draw
  13. (horse racing) The stall from which a horse begins the race.


Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  1. ^ drauen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  • draw”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.


Welsh draw definition


Related to Breton treu, Old Breton dydreu, didreu.




  1. there, yonder, beyond
    Synonyms: acw, hwnt
    Mae'n byw ochr draw'r mynydd.He/She lives on the other/far side of the mountain.
  2. over
    Dere draw ar ôl y gwaith.Come over after work.

Usage notes

This adverb, originally the a soft-mutated form of traw, is found almost exclusively as unmutatable draw today except in literary contexts where forms such as aspirate-mutated thraw may be encountered.

Derived terms

  • cadw draw (keep away)
  • draw fama (over here)
  • draw fan hyn (over here)
  • draw fanna (over there)
  • draw ’na (over there)
  • mas draw (exceedingly)
  • ochr draw (other side, far side)
  • pen draw (far end, limit)
  • trwyddo draw (through and through)
  • tu draw (beyond)

Further reading

  • R. J. Thomas, G. A. Bevan, P. J. Donovan, A. Hawke et al., editors (1950–present), “draw”, in Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru Online (in Welsh), University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies