v. drew (dr), drawn (drôn), draw·ing, draws
a. To cause to move after or toward one by applying continuous force; drag: drew the chair closer to the table; a team of horses drawing a wagon. See Synonyms at pull.
b. To cause to move in a given direction or to a given position, as by leading: The teacher drew the children into the room to see the decorations.
c. To move or pull so as to cover or uncover something: draw the curtains.
2. To cause to flow forth: a pump drawing water; a blow that drew blood.
3. To suck or take in (air, for example); inhale.
4. To require (a specified depth of water) for floating: a boat drawing 18 inches.
5. To take or pull out: drew a gun from beneath the counter; drew out a fat wallet.
a. To extract or take for one's own use: draw strength from one's friends.
b. To make (tea) by steeping.
7. To eviscerate; disembowel: a traitor to the king who was drawn and quartered.
a. To cause to come by attracting; attract: afraid the casino will draw undesirable elements to the town.
b. To select or take in from a given group, type, or region: draw clients from all levels of society.
9. To bring to a certain condition or action; lead: drawn to despair; drew them to resign.
10. To bring about deliberately; provoke: draw enemy fire; draw a penalty on an opponent.
11. To evoke as a response; elicit: a performance that drew jeers from the audience.
12. To earn; gain: deposits that draw interest at a rate of 5 percent.
a. To withdraw (money).
b. To use (a check, for example) when paying.
c. To receive on a regular basis or at a specified time: draw a pension.
14. To take or receive by chance: draw lots.
a. To take (cards) from a dealer or central stack.
b. To force (a card) to be played.
16. To end or leave (a contest) tied or undecided.
a. To hit or strike (a billiard ball, for example) so as to give it backspin.
b. To hit (a golf ball) with a draw.
a. To make tense or taut: drew the rope across the ravine.
b. To pull back the string of (a bow).
c. To distort the shape of: He drew his face into a scowl.
a. To flatten, stretch, or mold (metal) by hammering or die stamping.
b. To shape or elongate (a wire, for example) by pulling through dies.
a. To inscribe (a line or lines) with a pencil or other marking implement.
b. To make a likeness of on a surface, using mostly lines; depict with lines: drew a map of the area; drawing landscapes and still lifes.
c. To portray in writing or speech; depict with words: draws moving scenes of ghetto life.
21. To formulate or devise from evidence or data at hand: draw a comparison.
22. To compose or write out in legal format: draw a deed.
1. To proceed or move steadily: a ship drawing near the shore.
2. To attract customers or spectators: The new play is drawing well.
3. To pour forth liquid: The patient's veins don't draw easily.
4. To cause suppuration.
5. To take in a draft of air: The flue isn't drawing.
6. To steep in or as if in the manner of tea.
7. To pull out a weapon for use.
8. To use or call upon part of a fund or supply: drawing on an account; drew from the experience of fellow workers.
9. To contract or tighten: material that draws when it dries.
10. To conclude a contest without either side winning; tie: The chess players drew in 32 moves.
11. To make a likeness with lines on a surface; sketch.
a. An act of drawing.
b. The result of drawing.
2. Something drawn, especially a lot, card, or cards drawn at random.
3. Sports & Games
a. The arrangement of competitors in a tournament in which the matchups are made at random.
b. A matchup or opponent in such a tournament.
4. An inhalation, especially through a pipe or other smoking implement.
5. One that attracts interest, customers, or spectators: a singer who is a popular draw.
6. The movable part of a drawbridge.
7. A special advantage; an edge: have the draw on one's enemies.
8. A contest ending without either side winning.
9. A small natural depression that water drains into; a shallow gully.
10. Football A play in which the quarterback drops back as if to pass and then runs or hands off to a running back.
11. Sports A face-off.
a. Games A draw shot.
b. Sports A moderate, usually controlled hook in golf.
To move ahead of competitors.
1. To reduce or deplete by consuming or spending: drew down our food reserves.
2. To reduce (military forces in a specific deployment).
To approach: as evening draws on.
1. To prolong; protract.
2. To induce to speak freely: managed to draw the shy child out.
1. To compose or write in a set form; write out: draw up a contract; draw up a list.
2. To bring (troops, for example) into order.
3. To bring or come to a halt.
4. To bring (oneself) into an erect posture, often as an expression of dignity or indignation.
5. Chiefly Southern US To shrink when washed. Used of clothes.
draw a blank
To fail to find or remember something.
draw and quarter
1. To execute (a prisoner) by tying each limb to a horse and driving the horses in different directions.
2. To disembowel and dismember after hanging.
3. Informal To punish severely: The teenager was drawn and quartered for wrecking the family's only car.
To decide by a lottery with straws of unequal lengths.
draw the line
1. To decide firmly an arbitrary boundary between two things: "Where do you draw the line between your own decisions and those of your superiors?" (Robert Marion).
2. To decide firmly the limit of what one will tolerate or participate in: The officer committed fraud but drew the line at blackmail.
[Middle English drauen, from Old English dragan.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.