1

Mike hauls down the sidewalk.
Mike walks down the sidewalk.

What is the difference? Dictionary says haul means pull or drag with effort. So how can haul be used instead of walk? The context is simply "Mike walks", that's all: he isn't pulling anything.

  • By far the biggest difference is that haul = make one's way, walk (usually quickly and/or reluctantly) is just a relatively uncommon slang usage by comparison with standard walk. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 17 '13 at 2:17
5

Haul can also mean to go fast, by extension from (or really, as an ellipsis of) the slang term "haul ass".

Merriam-Webster:

— haul ass
often vulgar: to move quickly

That said, "Mike hauls down the sidewalk" is not the usual way to use this slang expression. I'd expect at least a "really" or other intensifier in there.

Mike was really hauling down the sidewalk.

This makes it a little bit more clear that what you're doing is using the "haul ass" expression, but leaving out the "ass" part in an attempt to avoid outright vulgarity.

(As FumbleFingers noted, "haul [ass]" is not a common expression. It is not a synonym of "walk" in any useful sense. Unless you're really trying to drive a point across, I would suggest avoiding it. And for heaven's sake, don't use it on a school paper or in any other formal context!)

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  • I'd already upvoted before that edit, but with slight misgivings because I wasn't sure whether maybe young Americans really have started "hauling along the sidewalk" in recent years. But I've just Googled really hauled along, and found that of the four results, two are in the context of "distance cycling". And both the other two are from the same guy talking about cross-country hiking, in a blog which uses terms like hauled along, hauled ass, really hauled it in practically every daily entry (the guy just loves the word! :) Great answer to a not-so-great question. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 17 '13 at 21:22
  • Check following PDF. Go to page 10 and read the paragraph which comes after "CUT TO:". lexwilliford.com/Workshops/Screenwriting/Scripts/… But you are saying "haul down" is not correct. – T2E Jun 18 '13 at 6:41
  • @T2E: "Is not the usual way" is not at all the same thing as "not correct". Screenplays have their own conventions. In particular, they're one of the few place you'd ever use present-tense narration. – Martha Jun 18 '13 at 13:48
1

One connotation "haul" indicates is that there is considerable effort involved. Perhaps "Having put on his backpack, picked up his bag and his suitcase, Mike hauled down the sidewalk."

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