Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: poulser 'to hit, push', from Latin pulsare, from pellere 'to drive, hit'


1 verb
push1 S1 W2


[intransitive and transitive] to make someone or something move by pressing them with your hands, arms etc [≠ pull]:
It didn't move, so she pushed harder.
I promised to push him on the swings for as long as he wanted.
shoppers pushing their grocery carts
push somebody/something away/back/aside etc
She pushed him away.
Maria pushed her hair back from her forehead.
push somebody/something towards/into etc something
Philip pushed him towards the door.
push something open/shut
I slowly pushed the door open.


[intransitive and transitive] to press a button, switch etc in order to make a piece of equipment start or stop working [= press]:
I got in and pushed the button for the fourth floor.
Push the green button to start the engine.

try to get past

[intransitive] to use your hands, arms etc to make people or things move, so that you can get past them:
Don't push. Everyone will get a turn.
push (your way) past/through/into etc
A fat man pushed past me in his rush to leave.
She pushed her way to the front.


[transitive] to encourage or force someone to do something or to work hard:
Encourage your kids to try new things, but try not to push them too hard.
athletes who push their bodies to the limit
push yourself
He's been pushing himself too hard, working 12-hour days.
push somebody into (doing) something
My husband pushed me into leaving the job.
push somebody to do something
The teachers pushed the students to achieve.


[intransitive and transitive] to try to persuade people to accept your ideas, opinions etc in order to achieve something:
The president is trying to push his agenda in Congress.
push for
He was pushing hard for welfare reform.
push to do something
Company representatives are pushing to open foreign markets to their products.
push something on somebody
We don't try to push our religion on anyone.


[transitive always + adverb/preposition] to change someone's situation, or to make a situation change, especially when some people do not want it to change:
The law would push even more children into poverty.
attempts to push the peace process forward


[transitive always + adverb/preposition] to increase or decrease an amount, value, or number
push something up/down
Slow sales have pushed down orders.
push something higher/lower
New technology has pushed the cost of health care even higher.


[intransitive always + adverb/preposition] if an army pushes somewhere, it moves in that direction:
The army was pushing north.
We pushed deep into enemy territory.


[transitive] informalBBA to try to sell more of a product by advertising it a lot:
Sports stars earn big bucks for pushing everything from shoes to soft drinks.


[transitive] informalMDD to sell illegal drugs pusher

be pushing 40/50 etc

informal to be nearly 40, 50 etc years old

push your luck/push it

informal to do something or ask for something, especially something you have done or asked for before, when this is likely to annoy someone or involves a risk:
If she doesn't want to go, don't push it.
It's 26 miles, so you're pushing your luck if you try to hike it in a day.

push something out of your mind

also push something to the back of your mind to try not to think about something, especially something bad or worrying:
He pushed the thought out of his mind and tried to concentrate.

push (somebody's) buttons

informal to make someone feel strong emotions:
Movies shouldn't be afraid to push a few buttons.

push the boat out

British English informal to spend more money than you usually do, on something special:
Push the boat out and get tickets to the theatre or ballet.

push the point

to keep trying to make someone accept your opinion in a way that they think is annoying

push the envelope

American English to do something that is new and that goes beyond the limits of what has already been done in a particular area of activity
push the envelope of/on
ideas that push the envelope of design and construction

be pushing up (the) daisies

informal to be dead - used humorously

push ahead

phrasal verb
to continue with a plan or activity, especially in a determined way
push ahead with
Quinlan decided to push ahead with the deal.

push along

phrasal verb

must/should etc be pushing along

British English spoken used to say that you think it is time for you to leave a place:
It's getting late - I think we should be pushing along.

push somebody around

phrasal verb
to tell someone what to do in an impolite or threatening way:
Europeans sometimes feel the Americans are trying to push them around.

push somebody/something aside

phrasal verb

push something ↔ aside

to try to forget about something, especially something unpleasant, so that you can give your attention to what you are doing:
She pushed aside her anger, forcing herself to focus on her work.
2 to force someone out of their job or position, taking the job in their place:
Primakov was pushed aside but later became head of Intelligence.

push yourself forward

phrasal verb
British English to try to make other people notice you:
Rupert was a quiet type, not one to push himself forward.

push in

phrasal verb
British English informal to go in front of other people who are already waiting in a line for something, instead of going to the back of the line:
A couple of boys pushed in at the head of the queue.

push off

phrasal verb
1 to start moving in a boat, on a bicycle, or when swimming or jumping, by pushing against something with your arms, legs etc:
Dad pushed off and jumped into the rowboat.
2 British English spoken used to tell someone rudely to go away

push on

phrasal verb
1 to continue travelling somewhere, especially after you have had a rest:
We decided to push on a little further.
2 to continue doing an activity
push on with
Nixon pushed on with the weapons development program.

push somebody/something ↔ over

phrasal verb
to make someone or something fall to the ground by pushing them:
He went wild, pushing over tables and chairs.

push something ↔ through

phrasal verb
to get a plan, law etc officially accepted, especially quickly:
The planning application was pushed through as quickly as possible.

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