• 3-minute read
  • 14th July 2020

Word Choice: Draw vs. Drawer

The words “draw” and “drawer” look and sound alike. However, they are used in different ways, so you won’t want to mix them up in your writing. To learn how to use them correctly, check out our guide below.

Draw as a Verb (Create a Picture, Pull or Move)

“Draw” can be either a verb or a noun, so we will start with its uses as a verb. The most important meanings in this case include:

  • Create a picture with a pen or pencil (e.g., I am going to draw a picture)
  • Pull something (e.g., I will draw the curtains)
  • Take something out (e.g., He drew a card from the deck)
  • Move in a particular direction (e.g., The car drew closer)
  • Elicit a response (e.g., His comments drew a positive response)
  • Attract attention (e.g., The event is expected to draw a huge crowd)
  • End in a tie (e.g., We will draw the match if we don’t score)
  • Make a comparison or come to a conclusion (e.g., We can draw several parallels between businesses in the two sectors)

This is not a definitive list! However, it does cover some of the most common uses. And you can see how many definitions “draw” has as a verb.

Draw as a Noun (A Lottery, Tie or Attraction)

Luckily, “draw” has fewer uses as a noun! The key definitions are:

  • A raffle or lottery (e.g., The prize draw was held last Tuesday)
  • A tie (e.g., The game ended with a draw between the two teams)
  • An attraction (e.g., The concert is a huge draw for our town)

As you can see, all of these are related to definitions of “draw” as a verb from above: e.g., in a lottery, you might “draw” (meaning “take out”) the winning numbers, while an attraction can “draw” a crowd.

Drawer (Furniture or Underpants)

The word “drawer,” meanwhile, is always a noun. It has two main meanings.

The first is a compartment in a piece of furniture. In a chest of drawers, for example, the “drawers” are the parts that move in and out – in other words, it is the part you draw or pull from the rest of the piece of furniture:

I keep spare pens in my desk drawer.

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“Drawers” can also mean “underpants,” but this is fairly old-fashioned. In the song “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” from Grease, for example, Rizzo sings:

Keep your filthy paws off my silky drawers.

This usage originated from old-fashioned undergarments, which featured two separate legs that you would put on by “drawing” them up and tying them in place. This is also why we still use plural terms, such as “pants” or “trousers,” to refer to clothing that covers our legs!

A pair of 'drawers'.
A pair of “drawers.”

Summary: Draw or Drawer?

While “draw” and “drawer” look and sound similar, they are different:

  • Draw has many uses as a verb (e.g., to create a picture, move, or pull something) and as a noun (e.g., a lottery, a tie, or an attraction).
  • Drawer is always a noun that refers to furniture or underpants.

If you find these words tricky, don’t worry: just remember that “drawers” always refers to a piece of furniture or old-fashioned underwear, then you can use “draw” for everything else.

And if you’d like some help to check your word choice, or any other aspect of your writing, we have a team of expert editors available 24/7.

Comments (4)
Christopher Henry
16th July 2020 at 18:01
Regarding "The prize draw was held last Tuesday"; should thst not use "drawing'? To my ear 'draw' is perhaps technically acceptable, but 'drawing' seems to be what I have always heard in actual usage and sounds 'most correct'. I think 'prize draw' sounds archaic.
    17th July 2020 at 11:06
    Hi, Christopher. Both are used, and "prize draw" is more common internationally these days (you can see the relative usages here). "Prize drawing" is still a bit more common in American English, though, so you're not wrong to point this out! We're just using the version that is more widespread overall here.
29th April 2023 at 14:05
As much as I love this and as much as I hate it when people spell draw for drawer, a drawer is also someone who draws!
    30th April 2023 at 14:24
    Thanks, Brittany – this is true! It can be in the sense of drawing a picture or in a banking context.

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