[ puhmp ]
See synonyms for pump on Thesaurus.com
  1. an apparatus or machine for raising, driving, exhausting, or compressing fluids or gases by means of a piston, plunger, or set of rotating vanes.

  2. Engineering, Building Trades. a shore having a jackscrew in its foot for adjusting the length or for bearing more firmly against the structure to be sustained.

  1. Biology. an animal organ that propels fluid through the body; heart.

  2. Cell Biology. a system that supplies energy for transport against a chemical gradient, as the sodium pump for the transfer of sodium and potassium ions across a cell membrane.

verb (used with object)
  1. to raise, drive, etc., with a pump.

  2. to free from water or other liquid by means of a pump.

  1. to inflate by pumping (often followed by up): to pump a tire up.

  2. to operate or move by an up-and-down or back-and-forth action.

  3. to supply with air, as an organ, by means of a pumplike device.

  4. to drive, force, etc., as if from a pump: He rapidly pumped a dozen shots into the bull's-eye.

  5. to supply or inject as if by using a pump: to pump money into a failing business.

  6. to question artfully or persistently to elicit information: to pump someone for confidential information.

  7. to elicit (information) by questioning.

verb (used without object)
  1. to work a pump; raise or move water, oil, etc., with a pump.

  2. to operate as a pump does.

  1. to move up and down like a pump handle.

  2. to exert oneself in a manner likened to pumping: He pumped away at his homework all evening.

  3. to seek to elicit information from a person.

  4. to come out in spurts.

Verb Phrases
  1. pump up,

    • to inflate.

    • to increase, heighten, or strengthen; put more effort into or emphasis on; intensify: The store has decided to pump up its advertising.

    • to infuse with enthusiasm, competitive spirit, energy, etc.: The contestants were all backstage pumping themselves up for their big moment.

Idioms about pump

  1. prime the pump,

    • to increase government expenditure in an effort to stimulate the economy.

    • to support or promote the operation or improvement of something.

  2. pump iron. iron (def. 29).

Origin of pump

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English noun pumpe, pompe; cognate with German Pumpe, Dutch pomp

Other words from pump

  • pump·a·ble, adjective
  • pumpless, adjective
  • pumplike, adjective
  • un·pump·a·ble, adjective
  • un·pumped, adjective

Other definitions for pump (2 of 2)

[ puhmp ]

  1. a lightweight, low-cut shoe without fastenings for women.

  2. a slip-on black patent leather shoe for men, for wear with formal dress.

Origin of pump

First recorded in 1720–30; origin uncertain

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pump in a sentence

  • Of course, it was the same gallon or two pumped around and around, but clear, flowing water is a sight on Mars.

    Fee of the Frontier | Horace Brown Fyfe
  • Should it fail, the fluid can generally be pumped out by alternate compression of the tube and the bulb.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd
  • All drainage from such land had to be pumped over the river bank, in many places 10 feet above the cultivated surface.

  • I pumped Dr. Hudson's hand and assured him that we had indeed made spectacular history, and together we could make millions.

    Nine Men in Time | Noel Miller Loomis
  • He listened to everything I said, tried to fit it in with the theories the police school had pumped into his brain.

British Dictionary definitions for pump (1 of 2)


/ (pʌmp) /

  1. any device for compressing, driving, raising, or reducing the pressure of a fluid, esp by means of a piston or set of rotating impellers

  2. biology a mechanism for the active transport of ions, such as protons, calcium ions, and sodium ions, across cell membranes: a sodium pump

  1. (when tr, usually foll by from, out, into, away, etc) to raise or drive (air, liquid, etc, esp into or from something) with a pump or similar device

  2. (tr; usually foll by in or into) to supply in large amounts: to pump capital into a project

  1. (tr) to deliver (shots, bullets, etc) repeatedly with great force

  2. to operate (something, esp a handle or lever) in the manner of a pump or (of something) to work in this way: to pump the pedals of a bicycle

  3. (tr) to obtain (information) from (a person) by persistent questioning

  4. (intr; usually foll by from or out of) (of liquids) to flow freely in large spurts: oil pumped from the fissure

Origin of pump

C15: from Middle Dutch pumpe pipe, probably from Spanish bomba, of imitative origin

British Dictionary definitions for pump (2 of 2)


/ (pʌmp) /

  1. a low-cut low-heeled shoe without fastenings, worn esp for dancing

  2. a type of shoe with a rubber sole, used in games such as tennis; plimsoll

Origin of pump

C16: of unknown origin

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for pump


[ pŭmp ]

  1. A device used to raise or transfer fluids. Most pumps function either by compression or suction.

  2. A molecular mechanism for the active transport of ions or molecules across a cell membrane.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.