verb (used with object)

  1. to pull or draw with force; move by drawing; drag: They hauled the boat up onto the beach.
  2. to cart or transport; carry: He hauled freight.
  3. to cause to descend; lower (often followed by down): to haul down the flag.
  4. to arrest or bring before a magistrate or other authority (often followed by before, in, to, into, etc.): He was hauled before the judge.

verb (used without object)

  1. to pull or tug.
  2. to go or come to a place, especially with effort: After roistering about the streets, they finally hauled into the tavern.
  3. to do carting or transport, or move freight commercially.
  4. Nautical.
    1. to sail, as in a particular direction.
    2. to draw or pull a vessel up on land, as for repairs or storage.
    3. (of the wind) to shift to a direction closer to the heading of a vessel (opposed to veer).
    4. (of the wind) to change direction, shift, or veer (often followed by round or to).


  1. an act or instance of hauling; a strong pull or tug.
  2. something that is hauled.
  3. the load hauled at one time; quantity carried or transported.
  4. the distance or route over which anything is hauled.
  5. Fishing.
    1. the quantity of fish taken at one draft of the net.
    2. the draft of a fishing net.
    3. the place where a seine is hauled.
  6. the act of taking or acquiring something.
  7. something that is taken or acquired: The thieves’ haul included several valuable paintings.

Verb Phrases

  1. haul off,
    1. Nautical.to change a ship’s course so as to get farther off from an object.
    2. to withdraw; leave.
    3. Informal.to draw back the arm in order to strike; prepare to deal a blow: He hauled off and struck the insolent lieutenant a blow to the chin.
  2. haul up,
    1. to bring before a superior for judgment or reprimand; call to account.
    2. to come to a halt; stop.
    3. Nautical.to change the course of (a sailing vessel) so as to sail closer to the wind.
    4. Nautical.(of a sailing vessel) to come closer to the wind.
    5. Nautical.(of a vessel) to come to a halt.

  1. haul around, Nautical.
    1. to brace (certain yards of a sailing vessel).
    2. (of the wind) to change in a clockwise direction.
  2. haul in with, Nautical. to approach.
  3. haul/shag ass, Slang: Vulgar. to get a move on; hurry.
  4. long haul,
    1. a relatively great period of time: In the long haul, he’ll regret having been a school dropout.
    2. a relatively great distance: It’s a long haul from Maine to Texas.
    3. Nautical.the drawing up on shore of a vessel for a relatively long period of time, as for winter storage or longer.
  5. short haul,
    1. a relatively small period of time: For the short haul, he’ll be able to get by on what he earns.
    2. a relatively little distance: The axle wouldn’t break for just a short haul.
    3. Nautical.the drawing up on shore of a vessel for a relatively short period, as for repairs or painting.


  1. to drag or draw (something) with effort
  2. (tr) to transport, as in a lorry
  3. nautical to alter the course of (a vessel), esp so as to sail closer to the wind
  4. (tr) nautical to draw or hoist (a vessel) out of the water onto land or a dock for repair, storage, etc
  5. (intr) nautical (of the wind) to blow from a direction nearer the bowCompare veer 1 (def. 3b)
  6. (intr) to change one’s opinion or action


  1. the act of dragging with effort
  2. (esp of fish) the amount caught at a single time
  3. something that is hauled
  4. the goods obtained from a robbery
  5. a distance of haulinga three-mile haul
  6. the amount of a contraband seizurearms haul; drugs haul
  7. in the long haul or over the long haul
    1. in a future time
    2. over a lengthy period of time

1580s, hall, variant spelling of Middle English halen (see hale (v.)), representing a change in pronunciation after c.1200. Spelling with -au- or -aw- is from early 17c. Related: Hauled; hauling. To haul off “pull back a little” before striking or otherwise acting is American English, 1802.


1660s, “act of hauling,” from haul (v.). Meaning “something gained” is from 1776, perhaps on notion of “drawing” a profit, or of the catch from hauling fishing nets. Meaning “distance over which something must be hauled” (usually with long or short) is attested from 1873.

In addition to the idioms beginning with haul

  • haul off
  • haul over the coals
  • haul up

also see:

  • long haul
  • rake (haul) over the coals

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