There are 2 main definitions of pump in English:

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pump 1

Syllabification: pump


1A mechanical device using suction or pressure to raise or move liquids, compress gases, or force air into inflatable objects such as tires: a gas pump
More example sentences
  • The device is a mechanical pump that can take over the function of either the left or right chamber in the heart.
  • One of these devices is the insulin pump, a mechanical device that can be programmed to deliver insulin more like the pancreas does.
  • Manufacturers are boosting hydraulic flows by adding pumps and increasing pressures.
1.1 [in singular] An instance of moving something by or as if by a pump: the pump of blood to her heart
More example sentences
  • This may be followed by another set of 10 reps for a final pump of nourishing blood.
  • My chest and triceps were toast and the pump of blood into the muscles was immense to say the least.
  • His pulse was weak and feverish, more like a shiver than the pump of his life's blood.
1.2 [with modifier] Physiology 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
More example sentences
  • All cells have sodium pumps in their membranes; these consume energy by hydrolysing adenosine triphosphate.
  • In certain disease states, the capacity of membrane pumps to maintain normal concentration gradients may be compromised.
  • In sufficient quantities, it can cause permanent damage to the cells' noradrenaline reuptake pump.
1.3A pump-action shotgun.
Example sentences
  • The problem comes with firearms that do not allow access to the breech, such as an Ml Garand or a pump shotgun.
  • The pump shotguns are giving way to autos, and also to semiautomatic rifles and pistol caliber carbines.
  • Nick had taken to using a pump shotgun to get the job done.


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1 [with object] Force (liquid, gas, etc.) to move in a specified direction by or as if by means of a pump: the blood is pumped around the body [no object]: if we pump long enough, we should bring the level up
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • In the end, the fire brigade were forced to pump water from a nearby river.
  • If we were to stop pumping greenhouse gases into the air, the earth would not recognize that it is able to dictate policy.
force, drive, push;
suck, draw, tap, siphon, withdraw, expel, extract, bleed, drain
1.1 [no object] Move in spurts as though driven by a pump: blood was pumping from a wound in his shoulder
More example sentences
  • There's nothing like 'em for getting the blood pumping and feeling that surge of collective energy.
  • The scene is still vivid in my memory - I was mesmerised, I could feel my heart pumping and the adrenalin flow.
  • The adrenaline was circulating, surging and pumping in the heat of the moment.
1.2 informal Try to elicit information from (someone) by persistent questioning: she began to pump her friend for details
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • After they had pumped me dry of information, the CIC people let me go.
interrogate, cross-examine, ask, question, quiz, probe, sound out, catechize, give someone the third degree
2Fill (something such as a tire or balloon) with liquid or gas using a pump: I fetched the bike and pumped up the back tire my veins had been pumped full of glucose
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • He seemed puffy, like he'd been pumped full of embalming fluid.
  • 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.
inflate, aerate, blow up, fill up;
swell, enlarge, distend, expand, dilate, puff up
2.1Shoot (bullets) into a target.
Example sentences
  • Having cornered him and pinned him to the ground they pumped five bullets into his head at close range.
  • I watched as Alexandria pumped three bullets into Rafael's chest, and I saw him go down.
  • Handguns can pump bullets quickly and accurately, and rifles are likewise lighter, easier to use, and faster to reload.
3Move 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Then they pumped a handle on the press that squeezed the water out of the cylinder and formed tightly-packed disks.
3.1Apply and release (a brake pedal or lever) several times in quick succession, typically to prevent skidding.
Example sentences
  • Only some feral instinct keeps you pumping the brake pedal and steering into the skid, so that you slide instead of spin.
  • Details are still emerging, but it looks like he tried to pump his brake pedal, but instead found his accelerator pedal.
  • I find that it helps to pump the rear brake lightly and quickly.
3.2 Baseball Move one’s arm as if throwing a ball held in the hand, but without releasing the ball: [in combination]: behind the plate Howard double-pumped, then threw to second
More example sentences
  • If you pump fake the ball, you may actually see players downfield take a step toward where the throw would have gone.


pump someone's hand

Shake a person’s hand vigorously.
Example sentences
  • He pumped my hand vigorously and could barely stammer out his name.
  • He pumped my hand vigorously, his devilish eyes radiating excitement.
  • The man beams, then reaches out and pumps my hand enthusiastically.

pump iron

informal Exercise with weights.
Example sentences
  • I don't believe in lifting weights, or pumping iron.
  • I do regular workouts including cardiovascular exercise and pumping iron.
  • 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.

Phrasal verbs

pump something in/into

informal Invest a large amount of money in (something): he pumped all his savings into building the boat
More example sentences
  • The Government is setting totally unrealistic targets and not pumping the money in.
  • 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.
  • 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.

pump something out

Produce or emit (something) in large quantities or amounts: that little printing press pumped out our brochures for more than twenty years
More example sentences
  • People like to hear stuff that sounds familiar to them and the North American music industry loves to keep pumping it out.
  • 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.
  • ‘Pollutants were pumped out by the dark satanic mills and we had a century and a half of that,’ he said.

pump something up

informal Increase: she needs to read and pump up her political grip
More example sentences
  • These preparers are more likely to illegally pump up your refund to increase their profits.
  • By the way, this part of OCZ's activity starts looking more and more attractive, because it allows increasing the system performance significantly without pumping up the working frequencies and voltages.
  • In so doing, these writers further increase the girth of their text, pump up the load on their servers, and ensure that the race against mouthfuls of extraneous words will continue until they run out of time.
3.1Turn up the volume of (music): let’s pump up those tunes, man
More example sentences
  • He never even steps into the mela but instead parks his motor at the entrance and pumps the music up loud.
  • 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.
  • Yet somehow the movie does have fans, and, bless them, at least they can pump the music up with this release.
3.1Give inappropriate support and encouragement to: we let them pump up our egos
More example sentences
  • On the contrary, he actively encouraged Hawks to pump up the action whilst fighting the Hays Office tooth and nail over every cut proposed.
  • Though he was in trade sales, he really moved the retail way by encouraging secondary sales to pump up primary trade sales.
  • Those who really know don't have to get their egos pumped up by leaking to the press.


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.

Words that rhyme with pump

bump, chump, clump, crump, dump, flump, frump, gazump, grump, jump, lump, outjump, plump, rump, scrump, slump, stump, sump, thump, trump, tump, ump, whump

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There are 2 main definitions of pump in English:

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pump 2 Syllabification: pump


1A light shoe, in particular.
Example sentences
  • Then sandals of all sorts; then thongs, clogs, pumps, loafers, oxfords, baby shoes, and desert boots.
  • In these classes, you will learn to design and construct shoes such as pumps, sandals, oxfords, and loafers.
  • Once you learn with pumps, then work slingbacks in.
1.1North American A woman’s plain, lightweight shoe that has a low-cut upper, no fastening, and typically a medium heel.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • As she pivoted around, the perfectly dyed Italian pump snapped it's heel, leaving the actress with a dramatic limp.
1.2A man’s slip-on patent leather shoe for formal wear.


Mid 16th century: of unknown origin.

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