Unlike silly examples involving broccoli and cell phones, that so-called “bootstrap” argument is sound.
One man turned up in bootstrap with radiation burns, but he had not offered himself for check over at the hospital.
In the desert near bootstrap there was a gigantic construction shed.
They were the pilot and co-pilot, respectively, of the fateful plane that had brought him to bootstrap.
Once they met a convoy of empty vehicles on the way back to bootstrap.
In the few minutes before bootstrap loomed near, they filled the bottom of the cabin with blankets.
Then they went out into the neon-lighted business street of bootstrap.
They headed for bootstrap in a convoy, a long, long string of lighted vehicles running one behind the other.
They arrived in bootstrap some forty-six hours after the crashing of their ship.
The skeleton compiler acts as a bootstrap for introducing more sophisticated facilities.
also boot-strap, tab or loop at the back of the top of a men's boot, which the wearer hooked a finger through to pull the boots on, 1870, from boot (n.) + strap (n.).
Circa 1900, to pull (oneself) up by (one's) bootstraps was used figuratively of an impossible task (Among the "practical questions" at the end of chapter one of Steele's "Popular Physics" schoolbook (1888) is, "30. Why can not a man lift himself by pulling up on his boot-straps?"). By 1916 its meaning expanded to include "better oneself by rigorous, unaided effort." The meaning "fixed sequence of instructions to load the operating system of a computer" (1953) is from the notion of the first-loaded program pulling itself, and the rest, up by the bootstrap.
operating system, compiler
To load and initialise the operating system on a computer. Normally abbreviated to "boot". From the curious expression "to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps", one of the legendary feats of Baron von Munchhausen. The bootstrap loader is the program that runs on the computer before any (normal) program can run. Derived terms include reboot, cold boot, warm boot, soft boot and hard boot.
The term also applies to the use of a compiler to compile itself. The usual process is to write an interpreter for a language, L, in some other existing language. The compiler is then written in L and the interpreter is used to run it. This produces an executable for compiling programs in L from the source of the compiler in L. This technique is often used to verify the correctness of a compiler. It was first used in the LISP community.
See also My Favourite Toy Language.