Idioms

    prime the pump,
    1. to increase government expenditure in an effort to stimulate the economy.
    2. to support or promote the operation or improvement of something.
    pump iron. iron(def 29).

Origin of pump

1
1400–50; late Middle English pumpe (noun); cognate with German Pumpe, Dutch pomp

Related forms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for prime the pump (1 of 2)

pump

1
/ (pʌmp) /

noun

any device for compressing, driving, raising, or reducing the pressure of a fluid, esp by means of a piston or set of rotating impellers
biology a mechanism for the active transport of ions, such as protons, calcium ions, and sodium ions, across cell membranesa sodium pump

verb

Word Origin for pump

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

British Dictionary definitions for prime the pump (2 of 2)

pump

2
/ (pʌmp) /

noun

a low-cut low-heeled shoe without fastenings, worn esp for dancing
a type of shoe with a rubber sole, used in games such as tennis; plimsoll

Word Origin for 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

Medicine definitions for prime the pump

pump

[ pŭmp ]

n.

A machine or device for raising, compressing, or transferring fluids.
A molecular mechanism for the active transport of ions or molecules across a cell membrane.

v.

To raise or cause to flow by means of a pump.
To transport ions or molecules against a concentration gradient by the expenditure of chemically stored energy.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for prime the pump

pump

[ pŭmp ]

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

Idioms and Phrases with prime the pump

prime the pump


Encourage the growth or action of something, as in Marjorie tried to prime the pump by offering some new issues for discussion. In the late 1800s this expression originally was used for pouring liquid into a pump to expel the air and make it work. In the 1930s it was applied to government efforts to stimulate the economy and thereafter was applied to other undertakings.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.