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Idioms about pump

    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

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


Other definitions for pump (2 of 2)

[ puhmp ]
/ pʌmp /

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


What else does pump mean?

Content warning: this article contains references to guns.

Among many other slang senses, pump is short for pump-action shotgun, a type of shotgun that requires the user to change the shell with a pumping-like action.

Where does pump come from?

Pump-action guns, or slide-action guns, date back to the late 19th century. The shortened pump is found on Urban Dictionary by 2003.

Pump has notably been used in rap songs, including Cardi B’s 2017 “Bartier Cardi.” Her lyrics refer to a shotgun she, apparently, keeps in the trunk of her car.

Earlier, pump appeared on rapper The Game’s 2011 “Heavy Artillery”: “Take em back to Boyz in da Hood when I pull the pump out / Something like C-Murder on Worldstar when I dump out.”

First-person shooter (FPS) video games frequently include a pump shotgun weapon, which players often shorten to pump. Games like Destiny, Halo, Call of Duty, and Fortnite, all very popular in the 2000s, have featured pumps.

How is pump used in real life?

Rappers often use pump in their lyrics. Besides Cardi B and The Game, Offset and Fat Joe have each also used pump in their lyrics, usually in an intimidating way.

The only people who probably use pump more than rappers are gun lovers, hunters, and also gamers. Since pump shotguns are common in most FPS games and are generally powerful close range weapons, gamers talk about them a lot.

Some interesting trivia: Ever notice pumps being used a lot in movies? That’s because they don’t need to be modified to shoot blanks like other guns do.


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use pump in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pump (1 of 2)

/ (pʌmp) /

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

Word Origin for pump

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

British Dictionary definitions for pump (2 of 2)

/ (pʌmp) /

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

Scientific definitions for 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.