Main definitions of pump in English

: pump1pump2



  • 1A mechanical device using suction or pressure to raise or move liquids, compress gases, or force air into inflatable objects such as tyres.

    ‘a petrol pump’
    • ‘Potential examples include switches in optical communication devices and pumps that move solutions though minuscule channels for mixing and analysis.’
    • ‘This pump is operated by aligning the rear cycle wheel with the mechanical pump wherein a rotor is provided for revolving the cycle wheel.’
    • ‘If the energy is transferred to the fluid, thereby increasing its pressure, the devices are called pumps, fans, or compressors.’
    • ‘One of these devices is the insulin pump, a mechanical device that can be programmed to deliver insulin more like the pancreas does.’
    • ‘The naturally occurring well is renowned for the purity of its water, which is drawn with the aid of a mechanical pump.’
    • ‘Once the vehicle is started the electric pump will level it and the mechanical pump will take over once the vehicle is moving.’
    • ‘Dual hydraulic pumps evenly raise and lower the platform at a rate of 8 feet per minute.’
    • ‘The device is a mechanical pump that can take over the function of either the left or right chamber in the heart.’
    • ‘For the other hydraulically operated functions, the pressure is generated by a mechanical pump.’
    • ‘The drug is usually administered daily via a mechanical pump that pumps the drug underneath the skin while the child is sleeping.’
    • ‘The equipment is pushed to the limits of its hydraulic pistons and pumps as it moves heavy materials out of trenches into dump beds or across grades.’
    • ‘Functioning basically like a pump, it compresses the refrigerant and provides pressure to force it around the rest of the cooling system.’
    • ‘Over 100 stations were forced to close after activists cut power to the petrol pumps and tied petrol pump nozzles together.’
    • ‘Because they are mechanical systems, pumps with electrical connections should be checked at least once a year.’
    • ‘Mechanical pumps can produce vacuums to the medium pressure level.’
    • ‘But crews armed with high pressure pumps move in today to remove the pigeons' deposits.’
    • ‘Antiembolism stockings and pneumatic compression device pumps are placed on the patient's lower extremities and are used when the patient is in the hospital.’
    • ‘Since they are powered entirely by hydraulic pumps, there is no mechanical transmission.’
    • ‘Manufacturers are boosting hydraulic flows by adding pumps and increasing pressures.’
    • ‘In such an event the person concerned can be kept alive only by continuous artificial respiration by a mechanical pump.’
    1. 1.1in singular An instance of moving something by or as if by a pump.
      ‘the pump of blood to her heart’
      • ‘This may be followed by another set of 10 reps for a final pump of nourishing blood.’
      • ‘His pulse was weak and feverish, more like a shiver than the pump of his life's blood.’
      • ‘My chest and triceps were toast and the pump of blood into the muscles was immense to say the least.’
  • 2Physiology
    with modifier An active transport mechanism in living cells by which specific ions are moved through the cell membrane against a concentration gradient.

    ‘the bacterium's sodium pump’
    • ‘Mechanisms of failure of calf muscle pump and venous hypertenion.’
    • ‘The later hyperpolarization results from stimulation of the plasma membrane proton pump due to the cytosolic acidification associated with the activity of the nitrate transporter.’
    • ‘All cells have sodium pumps in their membranes; these consume energy by hydrolysing adenosine triphosphate.’
    • ‘In sufficient quantities, it can cause permanent damage to the cells' noradrenaline reuptake pump.’
    • ‘In certain disease states, the capacity of membrane pumps to maintain normal concentration gradients may be compromised.’
  • 3US A pump-action shotgun.

    ‘the shotgun was a 12-gauge pump’


[with object]
  • 1with adverbial of direction Force (liquid, gas, etc.) to move by or as if by means of a pump.

    ‘the blood is pumped around the body’
    • ‘I hope people reading the book might think twice about the circumstances of the man who pumps their gas or the cashier who rings up their groceries.’
    • ‘As anyone who has pumped gas knows, the higher the octane of fuel the higher the price.’
    • ‘He was pumping gas through the vent into my room.’
    • ‘We were trying to pump enough water away for people just to get out of their houses.’
    • ‘He came out to the car and visited through the window while he pumped my gas.’
    • ‘This is done of course to protect the life of the president; apparently the lives of ordinary Americans pumping gas or loading their groceries do not warrant the same protection.’
    • ‘He used the steam engine to pump water out of mines.’
    • ‘He was pumping gas at a Sunoco station in Manassas, Virginia.’
    • ‘The gas is pumped in at high-pressure, so it pushes down on the liquid product with a good amount of force.’
    • ‘I remember when you casually mentioned to the attendant who pumped your gas that you were moving downtown, and he started to cry.’
    • ‘Where no cut-off switches in the boreholes exist, this results in a combination of air and water being pumped to the reservoirs.’
    • ‘Last month an elderly Mayo couple were left homeless when fire fighters were forced to pump water from a nearby river after their house caught fire in the middle of the night.’
    • ‘If we were to stop pumping greenhouse gases into the air, the earth would not recognize that it is able to dictate policy.’
    • ‘I hate pumping my own gas and I hate checking the oil and water.’
    • ‘Already there are ads on small screens that jabber at you while you pump your gas, while you use your ATM machine and while you wait in the supermarket line.’
    • ‘He actually had a job pumping gas (with a pay rate that didn't nearly cover the cost of the average bachelor apartment) so he was staying at the homeless shelter.’
    • ‘In operation, water is pumped from the engine to the top tank, where it spreads over the tops of the tubes.’
    • ‘The jailed men want Shell to build the gas refinery offshore because they fear that pumping unrefined gas past their homes will lead to a health and safety risk.’
    • ‘The Coalbrookdale Company had smelted its last iron in the area by 1821, and that year had dismantled the Resolution steam engine that pumped water up the dale to power the furnace bellows.’
    • ‘In the end, the fire brigade were forced to pump water from a nearby river.’
    force, drive, push, send, transport, raise, inject
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object, with adverbial of direction Move in spurts as though driven by a pump.
      ‘blood was pumping from a wound in his shoulder’
      • ‘When Harry's turned on, his adrenaline flows and the endorphins pump, and he feels alive instead of dead.’
      • ‘The adrenaline rush took her on it's own course and she could feel the blood pumping in her ears.’
      • ‘This is because your body has adjusted to the constant stream of alcohol pumping through your system.’
      • ‘My heart rate increases, my blood pumps faster and the adrenaline begins to surge.’
      • ‘I struggled then, adrenaline suddenly pumping through my already rushing blood.’
      • ‘Nice little rush to get the blood pumping and get everybody in the proper mindset of combat.’
      • ‘But when the adrenaline is pumping to your brain, the hot, sticky blood coursing through your veins, who could resist?’
      • ‘Blood pumped out of her wounds and sluggishly oozed down her body.’
      • ‘Becca and I began to climb down, our veins pumping with the adrenaline rush of not only conquering the rigging, but in a storm, to help someone, and the captain at that.’
      • ‘The scene is still vivid in my memory - I was mesmerised, I could feel my heart pumping and the adrenalin flow.’
      • ‘He ran a hand through his hair, the rush of adrenalin still pumping though him, then he sighed.’
      • ‘The rush of adrenalin pumped through her veins, and Ashlyn raced toward Winnie and Rey's room.’
      • ‘With her adrenaline pumping, Mac rushed with all her energy and capability towards the elevator doors.’
      • ‘The adrenaline was circulating, surging and pumping in the heat of the moment.’
      • ‘The reduced venous pressure reduces the return flow of blood into the heart, so the blood pumped out of the heart is correspondingly reduced.’
      • ‘Shock reigned for a few seconds, then heat surged, pumped through veins, and I responded.’
      • ‘Adrenaline pumped through her blood as a dizzying rush of vertigo overcame her from looking down upon the streets far below.’
      • ‘There's nothing like 'em for getting the blood pumping and feeling that surge of collective energy.’
      • ‘His nerves were jumping out his system, the adrenaline pumping and flowing like mad.’
      • ‘He looked terrible, armour torn and mangled while blood pumped from numerous wounds around his body.’
      spurt, spout, squirt, jet, surge, spew, gush, stream, flow, flood, pour, spill, rush, well, cascade, run, course, discharge
      View synonyms
  • 2 Draw (milk) from the breast using a breast pump, typically in order to feed a baby by means of a bottle.

    ‘she struggled with pumping enough milk’
    no object ‘I've exclusively pumped for my youngest’
  • 3Fill (something such as a tyre or balloon) with liquid or gas using a pump.

    ‘I fetched the bike and pumped up the back tyre’
    ‘my veins had been pumped full of glucose’
    • ‘The millisecond he stood up, he would be pumped full of steel.’
    • ‘Gemma had been pumped full of drugs all this time, so she needed time for her body to get back to normal.’
    • ‘The pair arrived at the doctor's surgery and within minutes Kirsty was in an ambulance on the way to Christchurch hospital, where she was pumped full of antibiotics.’
    • ‘He was still pumped full of rage but he also shocked and confused.’
    • ‘At times, when I was lying on my hospital bed being pumped full of chemotherapy drugs that made me as sick as a dog and caused my hair to fall out, I used to close my eyes and dream I was somewhere else.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, he spent the holiday period, in agony, pumped full of painkillers, playing to over 6,000 people.’
    • ‘Even for a devoted carnivore, you'd like to eat meat that's not been pumped full of antibiotics, steroids, and hormones.’
    • ‘The idea that farmed salmon are pumped full of chemicals is an urban myth.’
    • ‘Most farmed animals are now crowded in sheds with dirty conditions and pumped full of drugs so they lead sad and unnatural lives.’
    • ‘I went home so pumped full of steroids that I literally went without sleep for nearly three weeks.’
    • ‘America is hungry… for food that is not drenched in pesticides, pumped full of antibiotics and covered with sealing wax.’
    • ‘Soon I was on the table with an IV in my arm, pumped full of powerful narcotics, and ready to be probed by the ship manned by the hospital staff.’
    • ‘Surely they deserve more than to be pumped full of drugs, just to ensure that our overstretched military forces can continue to support the whims of politicians.’
    • ‘Enough generations of children have already been pumped full of these types of prejudices.’
    • ‘He seemed puffy, like he'd been pumped full of embalming fluid.’
    • ‘Glen says mass-farmed animals are pumped full of antibiotics to ward off potential diseases they may spread, due to their living in such close proximity to one another.’
    • ‘I was pumped full of steroids intravenously and was in hospital for over two weeks.’
    • ‘‘Standard’ bacon is pumped full of salt water during the curing process.’
    • ‘Hopefully it was only because of the drugs I had been pumped full of.’
    • ‘I couldn't see to read it, I wouldn't have understood it anyway, I was pumped full of morphine. I just held on to it for dear life.’
    inflate, blow up
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1informal Shoot (bullets) into (a target)
      ‘he pumped two shots into the van's front tyre’
      • ‘Handguns can pump bullets quickly and accurately, and rifles are likewise lighter, easier to use, and faster to reload.’
      • ‘I watched as Alexandria pumped three bullets into Rafael's chest, and I saw him go down.’
      • ‘Having cornered him and pinned him to the ground they pumped five bullets into his head at close range.’
      • ‘As he rounded a corner, seven gunmen opened fire, pumping the car and driver full of bullet holes.’
      • ‘And in 1995, he petrified holidaymakers by pumping a volley of bullets into the air outside a disco in the Caribbean resort of Cartagena.’
    2. 3.2as adjective pumped" or "pumped upinformal Very enthusiastic or excited.
      ‘the team came out really pumped up’
      • ‘I jumped at the chance, and now I am really pumped about it.’
      • ‘His pupils seem dilated, as if he's so pumped about his mission that he's fully transcending the here and now.’
      • ‘On the plane, he told reporters he is pumped, he feels very good.’
      • ‘Pumped with excitement, Fred's hands began to shake.’
      • ‘The beginnings of a popular song started and everyone got even more pumped up.’
  • 4Move vigorously up and down.

    with object ‘we had to pump the handle like mad’
    no object ‘that's superb running—look at his legs pumping’
    • ‘In the faint light we rose and sang hymns, accompanied by the organist sitting comfortably on the floor and using his right leg to pump the harmonium.’
    • ‘His rough left hand turned the handle on the pitch black pot while his right hand pumped a small bellows to encourage the fire.’
    • ‘Then they pumped a handle on the press that squeezed the water out of the cylinder and formed tightly-packed disks.’
    • ‘Ju had his left hand on the dome, hair standing on end as Ernie pumped the handle like fury.’
    • ‘He pumped the handles of slot machines and bet feverishly on the roulette wheel.’
    1. 4.1 Apply and release (a brake pedal or lever) several times in quick succession, typically to prevent skidding.
      ‘the school teaches its students to brake by pumping the pedal’
      • ‘I find that it helps to pump the rear brake lightly and quickly.’
      • ‘Details are still emerging, but it looks like he tried to pump his brake pedal, but instead found his accelerator pedal.’
      • ‘Mr. Wehrman was pumping the gas pedal, an irritated expression on his face, holding the key in the ignition.’
      • ‘Only some feral instinct keeps you pumping the brake pedal and steering into the skid, so that you slide instead of spin.’
      • ‘Emlyn held the white bowl carefully with one hand, and, using all the strength in her other, pumped the lever until water began to stream out of the hole to her right.’
  • 5informal Try to elicit information from (someone) by persistent questioning.

    ‘she began to pump her friend for details’
    • ‘What she saw was a very clever ploy to pump her for information.’
    • ‘Having never had the pleasure of eating out at Est Est Est, I pumped my good friend Alison from Edinburgh for information.’
    • ‘Connie tried pumping her for information on what Hardwick wanted, but she evaded the questions so skillfully that Connie realized she was in a different league.’
    • ‘They asked Scott's friends to make certain calls to him and pump him for information, basically.’
    • ‘Or was it because Alan had been lying, and he was trying to pump her for information about it?’
    • ‘Anyway, our tutor, who believes we are all on the simple side, favours questions with easy and obvious answers and was pumping us for information on Louis XVI.’
    • ‘He'd rather play something else but if that's what it took to pump Adam for information he'd do it.’
    • ‘They'll pump him, try to get as much information out of him as possible.’
    • ‘Then James wouldn't think she was pumping him for information.’
    • ‘Suffice it to say that after more than an hour of pumping the poor guy like a mostly-empty keg, by the time dessert was served, I had names.’
    • ‘Elise was playing dumb, pumping her father for information.’
    • ‘So why did he get the impression she was pumping him for information?’
    • ‘She'd been pumping me for information about Brad all week.’
    • ‘We have pumped him for all the information he has.’
    • ‘The authorities didn't know at this stage of his movements overseas but they were keen to pump him for information on the prayer room, which was now under close surveillance.’
    • ‘My own father was pumping me dry for information!’
    • ‘Charges hadn't even been filed, yet there I was stalking her street, putting on a concerned, serious face as I pumped her neighbors for tips.’
    • ‘After they had pumped me dry of information, the CIC people let me go.’
    • ‘He was standing in the driveway talking to Chris and looking at his car, probably pumping him for information about where they were going and what they were doing.’
    • ‘They might try to pump him for information vital to the war effort, and that was never good.’
    ask, question, question intensely, question persistently, quiz, interrogate, probe, put questions to, sound out, cross-examine, catechize
    View synonyms


  • pump someone's hand

    • Shake a person's hand vigorously.

      ‘he greeted us with delight, pumping our hands and laughing’
      • ‘‘You keep that camera out and we're gonna have some fun boy!’ he greeted us like old friends, pumping my hand with startling vigour for an octogenarian invalid.’
      • ‘Trying desperately to make her way toward Gil, she found herself surrounded by well-wishers who touched her, congratulated her, thanked her, and pumped her hand until she thought her arm would fall off.’
      • ‘‘Ellie Johansen,’ I managed to say, as he pumped my hand professionally.’
      • ‘He pumped my hand vigorously, his devilish eyes radiating excitement.’
      • ‘An enthusiastic supporter pumped his hand and spewed out some of his own conclusions.’
      • ‘The boy answered as he pumped his hand energetically.’
      • ‘The Marine kept pumping his hand, saying, ‘You're lucky to have that one - she can take care of herself!’’
      • ‘He pumped my hand vigorously and could barely stammer out his name.’
      • ‘The man beams, then reaches out and pumps my hand enthusiastically.’
      • ‘He was a little weightlifter looking guy who pumped my hand like he was milking it.’
  • pump iron

    • informal Exercise with weights.

      ‘she spent her time jogging and pumping iron’
      • ‘While he pumps iron to improve his physique, Woods is a renowned couch potato, who likes nothing better than to lounge about with the remote control at his fingertips.’
      • ‘Living in the city now, he goes to a gymnasium and pumps iron every morning.’
      • ‘Keith began pumping iron in high school and has continued to hit the weights even at his current heights of success.’
      • ‘But it wasn't just the young and happening who gave up breakfast for pumping iron followed by a decaf, unsweetened cup of coffee with a dash of soya milk, the health wave affected everyone from teenagers to people in their sixties.’
      • ‘I changed positions, and they had me in the weight room every day, pumping iron and drinking this nutrient to gain weight.’
      • ‘I do regular workouts including cardiovascular exercise and pumping iron.’
      • ‘For today's media-literate, sophisticated children, pumping iron on a futuristic bench press is clearly more appealing than crouching in a draughty hall pretending to be a little acorn.’
      • ‘She's sweated it out in a gym stuffed with infomercial gizmos while traveling in Morocco, pumped iron on homemade weight training equipment in Zimbabwe and run up and down more than her fair share of crumbling motel basement stairways.’
      • ‘I don't believe in lifting weights, or pumping iron.’
      • ‘Interestingly, fitness exercise this time was not confined to pumping iron inside the gym.’
  • under the pump

    • Under pressure to do something.

      ‘they kept their composure well when we were under the pump’
      • ‘The controversial major sporting event again finds itself under the pump.’
      • ‘We certainly put them under the pump and in the end we just weren't quite up to it.’
      • ‘To date they haven't shown any of that when they've been under the pump, and I think that's the time for a true team to really lift and turn things around.’
      • ‘There are plenty of other senior executives inside the bank who should be under the pump.’
      • ‘The most fundamental basic of the game at the highest level is that instinctive ability to make the right choice when you are under the pump.’
      • ‘I was under the pump a little bit to get myself ready in the last couple of weeks with some back tightness.’
      • ‘He will also undoubtedly have the support of a coach by his side who himself is under the pump.’
      • ‘Any local sport that isn't offering the kind of pizzazz or whiz bang marketing that is creating fresh and dynamic new sporting heroes is under the pump.’
      • ‘We'd been under the pump for so long we forget how to enjoy the game.’
      • ‘By any count the brothers are under the pump as current difficulties are used to rationalize again.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • pump something in/into

    • Invest a large sum of money in (something)

      ‘he pumped all his savings into building the boat’
      • ‘The site was owned by Waterford City Council, which will pump the money back into urban renewal programmes in the city, making it an even more attractive investment location.’
      • ‘Probably three times as much money was pumped into the venture industry than should have been.’
      • ‘The only problem with this scenario is that unless someone pumps some money into the company soon, it will simply run out of cash and have to cease trading.’
      • ‘US corporations are not pumping their money into hiring full-time employees who earn a livable wage, receive health care benefits and get defined retirement pensions.’
      • ‘There should be no excuse for failure because colossal sums of money and other resources have been pumped into the Authority.’
      • ‘Such an upbeat prediction will be warmly welcomed by home owners across Scotland as many have shied away from investing in the stock market and opted instead to pump their savings into property.’
      • ‘Several foreign fund managers said they were taking profits in Singapore and pumping the money into markets that had been lagging behind, such as Malaysia.’
      • ‘The Government is setting totally unrealistic targets and not pumping the money in.’
      • ‘One day, a lobbyist will get enough money and pump enough money into somebody's campaign, and that will be that.’
      • ‘As more and more parents put their kids in private school or homeschool them, the government will have an even bigger excuse to pump less money into the beleaguered public school system.’
      • ‘Addressing a meeting of the Coalfield Communities Campaign at the Labour conference, Mr Wilson defended his decision to pump enough money into the struggling pit in order to help to find a new owner.’
      • ‘However much money is pumped into building stadiums, employing professional administrators and coaches, the collapses will continue unless domestic tournaments are properly organized and games played on the best pitches.’
      • ‘Bradford Council will not pump any money into Bradford City Football’
      • ‘It's envisaged the additional money will be pumped into better health and education programmes, with special priority for the HIV aids crisis in Africa.’
      • ‘I'm guessing it means someone's going to pump a little money into the operation, maybe putting out a few more issues, trying to promote a brand-name that can be exploited for movies or videogames or other venues.’
      • ‘But the figures were immediately seized upon by critics of the service as unexceptional given how much money has been pumped into the venture.’
      • ‘The bulk of the money will be pumped into restoring the village's Glebe garden, but cash will also be dished out to pay for hanging baskets and other floral projects.’
      • ‘I asked Chief Bernard, because I'd heard some residents express concern about how much money had been pumped into the Centre.’
      • ‘The Kennedy never has completely recovered, although, unlike The Boat, its owner eventually did pump some money into it.’
      • ‘The road network cannot cope with increasing traffic, no matter how much money is pumped in.’
  • pump something out

    • Produce or emit something in large quantities or amounts.

      ‘carnival bands pumping out music’
      • ‘Other potters move on to vases, abstract sculptures, maybe even attempt a bust, but Ron just stays the course pumping out ashtray after ashtray.’
      • ‘That's why no matter how many love-against-all-odds-under-Nazi-occupation epics are pumped out in time for Oscar consideration, we eat 'em up, especially when they are as beautifully photographed and paced as Zelary.’
      • ‘People like to hear stuff that sounds familiar to them and the North American music industry loves to keep pumping it out.’
      • ‘‘Pollutants were pumped out by the dark satanic mills and we had a century and a half of that,’ he said.’
      • ‘The manufacturer, Roche, is pumping it out at full pelt, but global demand has gone berserk.’
      • ‘But a great deal of the fleeing capital was earned then and there: Exports were pumped out at a much higher rate than imports were purchased.’
      • ‘And the studios really want to seize on that momentum and pump those DVDs out as fast as they can when they're still in the forefront of people's minds.’
      • ‘And I kind of - after a while, I mean, I did 14 movies in six years, which is more than two a year, and just kind of pumping them out.’
      • ‘I haven't heard any of their post-major label work, but it appears they were pumping it out in spades until recently.’
      • ‘A generation ago, cheap daytime soaps were pumped out to fill the gaps between ads for domestic cleaning products and provide some moving wallpaper for tranquillised housewives.’
  • pump something up

    • Turn up the volume of music.

      • ‘Seems that the music is pumped up so loudly in the mix than it drowns out everything, and since this is a movie where people speak way too softly, lots of dialogue and double crossing plot machinations are missed.’
      • ‘He never even steps into the mela but instead parks his motor at the entrance and pumps the music up loud.’
      • ‘Got home, put the disk in the real stereo, pumped it up as high as it would go, and I listened to the last movement four times in a row, just to wait for the moment when That Melody rolled out.’
      • ‘Yet somehow the movie does have fans, and, bless them, at least they can pump the music up with this release.’


Late Middle English (originally in nautical use): related to Dutch pomp ‘ship's pump’ (earlier in the sense ‘wooden or metal conduit’), probably partly of imitative origin.




Main definitions of pump in English

: pump1pump2



  • 1Northern English A sports shoe; a plimsoll.

    • ‘If you buy the kids plimsolls for PE, rather than pumps, you probably live in East Yorkshire - or outside the region.’
    • ‘She is as guilty as the next girl, admitting to jogging in tennis pumps rather than specialist running shoes.’
    • ‘Amber ran down a side street, suddenly glad that she had worn tennis shoes instead of pumps.’
    1. 1.1British A light shoe for dancing.
  • 2North American A court shoe.

    • ‘I love those late 70s babes. All glossy red lips, court pumps, kinky smiles and not a hint of plastic surgery.’
    • ‘In one hand she's holding her shoes, pink-colored pumps against her blue housedress.’
    • ‘OK, so the shoes are made from exquisite leather and are diamond and feather studded but they were simply pumps with pointed heels and an elongated tapered toe.’
    • ‘As she pivoted around, the perfectly dyed Italian pump snapped it's heel, leaving the actress with a dramatic limp.’
    • ‘To top it off she stood in red high heel platform pumps.’
    • ‘Her high heeled black pumps made hardly a sound on the tile floors.’
    • ‘These beautiful Christian Louboutin Two Tone Court pumps are to simply die for.’
    1. 2.1 A man's slip-on patent leather shoe for formal wear.


Mid 16th century: of unknown origin.