There are 2 main definitions of pump in English:

Share this entry

pump 1

Line breaks: pump


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
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.
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.


[with object] Back to top  
1 [with 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
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, send, transport, raise, inject;
suck, draw, tap, milk, siphon, withdraw, expel, extract, bleed, drain
1.1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] 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.
spurt, spout, squirt, jet, surge, spew, gush, stream, flow, flood, pour, spill, rush, well, cascade, run, course, discharge
British informal sloosh
rare disembogue
2Fill (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
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.
2.1 informal Shoot (bullets) into (a target): he pumped two shots into the van’s front tyre
More 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.
2.2 (as adjective pumped or pumped up) informal Very enthusiastic or excited: the team came out really pumped up
More example sentences
  • The beginnings of a popular song started and everyone got even more pumped up.
  • Pumped with excitement, Fred's hands began to shake.
  • On the plane, he told reporters he is pumped, he feels very good.
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: the school teaches its students to brake by pumping the pedal
More 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.
4 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.
informal grill, put the screws on, give someone the third degree, put someone through the third degree, put someone through the wringer/mangle, worm something out of someone


pump someone's hand
Shake a person’s hand vigorously: he greeted us with delight, pumping our hands and laughing
More 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: she spent her time jogging and pumping iron
More 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.
under the pump
Australian Under pressure to do something: they kept their composure well when we were under the pump
[Probably from an old practice of forcibly holding someone under a pump in a public place and pumping water over them, e.g. as a form of punishment]
More example sentences
  • I was under the pump a little bit to get myself ready in the last couple of weeks with some back tightness.
  • By any count the brothers are under the pump as current difficulties are used to rationalize again.
  • There are plenty of other senior executives inside the bank who should be under the pump.

Phrasal verbs

pump something in/into
informal Invest a large sum 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: carnival bands pumping out music
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 Turn up the volume of music.
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.


Pronunciation: /ˈpʌmpə/
Example sentences
  • Except to power the organ, of course: little boys are not the expert organ pumpers that they used to be.
  • Motorway pumpers don't want flimsy or demure, we need dairy-farm efficiency - something bulky and rubberised.
  • Darrell is a septic-tank pumper who drives his honey wagon to rural residences to haul away human waste.


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
Definition of pump in:
Share this entry

There are 2 main definitions of pump in English:

Share this entry
pump 2 Line breaks: 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.
1.1chiefly Northern English A sports shoe; a plimsoll.
Example sentences
  • If you buy the kids plimsolls for PE, rather than pumps, you probably live in East Yorkshire - or outside the region.
  • Amber ran down a side street, suddenly glad that she had worn tennis shoes instead of pumps.
  • She is as guilty as the next girl, admitting to jogging in tennis pumps rather than specialist running shoes.
1.2British A light shoe for dancing.
Example sentences
  • As the troupe marches Fred down the platform, his dancing pumps dissolve into marching boots.
  • The shoes where really nice black dancing pumps that made me taller.
  • And then of course there's Billy himself, who dances until his pumps start to smoulder in a hugely likeable performance.
1.3North American A court shoe.
Example sentences
  • These beautiful Christian Louboutin Two Tone Court pumps are to simply die for.
  • I love those late 70s babes. All glossy red lips, court pumps, kinky smiles and not a hint of plastic surgery.


Mid 16th century: of unknown origin.

Definition of pump in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources