When I read definition of 3 idioms with word pull they seem similar to me. The idioms are:

  • pull someone’s leg,
  • pull a fast one,
  • pull the wool over your eyes.

What is the difference in meaning between them?


2 Answers 2


pull someone's leg
Deceive someone playfully; tease someone.
‘getting married—are you pulling my leg?’

pull a fast one
Trick someone.
‘he had been trying to pull a fast one on his producer’

pull the wool over someone's eyes
Deceive someone by telling untruths.

You are right, they are all about deceiving or tricking.

I think the difference is the type of trick, from playful fun to serious lies.

"pull someone's leg" is playful teasing, not serious. The purpose of the trick is for humor.

"pull a fast one" can be playful or serious, but usually involves being clever.

"pull the wool over someone's eyes" is to lie on purpose, usually more serious.


"Pull the wool over someone's eyes" means to conceal something from a person, or in some cases bribe them, in order to get away with something.

"Pull a fast one" means to commit a crime right under someone's nose. This type of crime usually gets noticed just after it's done, and the culprit makes a quick escape; on the other hand, you could pull the wool over someone's eyes for years. But the two expressions can overlap.

"Pulling someone's leg" just means teasing them by telling what should be an obvious lie.

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