to pull rank

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - pull rank

"to pull rank"

to use the power of a position of authority to compel obedience or obtain privileges


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - pull rank

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: Why aren't you getting ready to leave? It is quitting time.

Colleague 2: I have to finish this report.

Colleague 1: Can't you finish it tomorrow?

Colleague 2: That was my plan but the boss said he needed it today and that he wasn't going to stay to finish it.

Colleague 1: So, the boss pulled rank and you have no choice but to stay and finish the report.

Colleague 2: See you tomorrow.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - pull rank

A Sergent and soldier are talking ...

Soldier: The platoon just does not understand why you want this done in such a funny way.

Sergent: I was really hoping that you would simply understand and do the job. I really don't want to have to order the platoon to do it.

Soldier: But you will pull rank if we don't agree?

Sergent: I would have no choice but to exert my authority. The job needs to get done as specified.

Test Your Understanding  

to pull rank - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   112   click for frequency by country

to pull rank - Gerund Form:

Pulling rank because you have seniority is not the best way to create a harmonious work environment.

to pull rank - Examples:

1)  Obviously there are times when you need to pull rank but in schools most of these times are arbitrary (unlike in a parenting scenario ...

2)  Whatever it is the two of you were bickering about, attempting to pull rank based on a superior academic status, which you were fortunate and privileged to have ...

3)  ... firstly it appears that the Federal Government are completely willing to pull rank on this issue if State representative don't fall in line and, secondly, ...

4)  ... rest of the board answerable to the president, who would be able to pull rank with ease on any of his hired subordinates.

5)  It's difficult in that you can't always pull rank but you can be assertive.

6)  Real life-long soldiers surely seethe at having an amateur pull rank on them. 

7)  ... advise and guide our two girls, and have very rarely had to "pull rank" as parents. as a result they are both happy, content, confident ...

8)  ... had insisted on a doctor to sit with the child because a doctor would pull rank and stop the proceedings if necessary.

9)  ... congratulations on your captaincy but I'm still the colonel so I pull rank.

10)  It is perhaps essential to eliminate the possibility of a decision maker to pull rank over rationale and veto an idea.

11)  ... in low PDI countries, superiors treat subordinates with respect and do not pull rank.

12)  This is the way it's going to be. You might even pull rank: "I'm the mommy, that's why."

13)  ... this has never worked and their only hope is to resort to force, pull rank, deceive or engage in some other form of manipulation to get their own way.

14)  The mutiny was complete. My last resort was to pull rank and forbid it.

15)  Did you know that Theron had to pull rank to force the writers to pump up her character?

16)  ... system more fair, accurate and accountable for everyone's benefit. Pulling rank is not particularly relevant or convincing. 

17)  No amount of moralizing censorship, rhetorical tricks, consensus of opinion, pulling rank, obfuscation, ad hominem attacks or blustering newspaper editorials changes this fact.

18)  ... has always been open to a full and frank exchange of views, never pulling rank or being dismissive when challenged. He loves ideas and debate. 

19)  My mother was eloquent enough to stop him ever pulling rank to win such arguments. We all had our turn. 

20)  I arrived to discover that some unnamed person had pulled rank and stolen my second day slot. When I expressed dismay at this, ...