Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pump v.

1. (also pump at, pump out, put on the pump) to ask questions, to cross-examine, esp. to interrogate in a police station; thus your pump is good but your sucker is dry, your questions are good, but I have nothing to offer; pumping, questioning, interrogation.

[UK]Fletcher Women Pleased IV iii: I shall pump ye anon Sir.
[UK]Jonson Tale of a Tub IV iii: I’ll stand aside whilst thou pump’st out of him His business.
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue 41: This servent endeavoured to pump out of the Proponent what he came about.
[UK]Dryden An Evening’s Love Act III: Maskall, pump the Woman; and see if you can discover anything to save my Credit.
[UK]S. Butler Hudibras Pt II canto 3 lines 489–92: Look yonder, some / To try or use our art are come: / The one’s the learned knight; seek out, / And pump ’em what they come about.
[UK]Otway Venice Preserv’d II i: Pump me not for politics. No more!
[UK]Congreve Old Bachelor V i: She was pumping me about how your worship’s affairs stood towards Madam Araminta.
[UK]N. Ward London Spy XVII 443: Old Practicers in the Noble Art of pump and Wheedle.
[UK]Farquhar Beaux’ Strategem II ii: We’ll call him out and pump him a little.
[UK]J. Lacey Sauny the Scot II i: You may pump long enough er’e you get out a wise Word.
[UK]J. Gay Beggar’s Opera III ix: By pouring Strong-Waters down my Throat, she thinks to pump some Secrets out of me.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. n.p.: Pump to wheedle Secrets out of any one. Pumpt dry, not a Word left to say.
[UK]Dialogue Between a Married Lady and a Maid I : My own Mother set me on to pump thee, about what past between you two.
[UK]Fielding Tom Jones (1959) 369: She therefore ordered her maid to pump out of him by what means he had become acquainted with her person.
[UK]Foote Lyar in Works (1799) I 287: I must know who this girl is [...] could not you contrive to pump out of her footman [...] the name of his mistress?
[US]‘Andrew Barton’ Disappointment II iv: But tell us, Moll, how the devil did you pump it out of him?
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Pump [...] To pump; to endeavour to draw a secret from any one without his perceiving it. Your pump is good, but your sucker is dry; said by one to a person who is attempting to pump him.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]J. Poole Hamlet Travestie I vi: You must pump him: If he won’t tell by fair means—why then—thump him.
[US]J.K. Paulding Bucktails (1847) IV iii: I’ll pump Paddy Whack the next time we meet – I will, by gum.
Vidocq Memoirs (trans. McGinn) III 74: Some thieves who [...] allow themselves to be pumped as to their past doings, those now in hand, and those meditated.
[UK]Dickens Pickwick Papers (1999) 216: Undergoing the process of being pumped.
[US]T. Haliburton Sam Slick in England I 139: They will be a-pumpin’ me for everlastinly, will the great men here, and they think a plaguy sight more of our opinion than you are aware on.
[UK]Paul Pry 11 Dec. n.p.: The proprietor is a "cunning card," and ‘pumps’ his new customers, by asking sundry questions about horse-racing, &c.
[US](con. 1843) Melville White-Jacket (1990) 186: Observing the fellow to be in an agony of fear at the sight of the boatswain’s mates and their lashes, [...] the captain must have thought this a good opportunity for completely pumping him of all his secret.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Ask Mamma 279: Finding the coast clear they now [...] took to pumping Billy as to his connection with the house.
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown at Oxford (1880) 52: You should have told me so before you began to pump me.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Roughing It 67: The minute the boys go to pumping at Eckert [...] he shuts up his shell.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Road’ Punch 9 Aug. 83/1: It isn’t for nothing, old chump, / As I ’se parted so free to the Coachies, and artfully put on the pump.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Mar. 9/3: Poor Mr Strong.He is being pumped upon with a fearful vengeance.
[UK]Dundee Courier (Scot.) 29 Sept. 7/4: Paddy tried to pump Dr Mackenzie’s billboy, but the latter was not to be pumped.
[UK] ‘’Arry in the Witness-Box’ Punch 5 Feb. 61/2: The plaintiff [...] seemed to go slap orf ’is chump / And leaked orkurd facts like a sieve when the Counsel jest put on the pump.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 14 Jan. 6/6: I think it must have been the whiskey that made him open the secrets of his heart to me. I certainly pumped him.
[UK]E.W. Hornung Amateur Cracksman (1992) 64: I had been able, in the most ordinary course, to pump poor Ewbank about anything and everything connected with the working of the bank.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Song of What Do You Think’ in Roderick (1967–9 II) 283: They wheedle to cackle and pump to spout, and they read on the cheap to write.
[US]F. Packard Adventures of Jimmie Dale 33: Well, by pumping Moriarty, he admitted that Metzer had had a visitor about an hour after I left.
[UK]N. Lucas Autobiog. of a Thief 37: Under my skilful ‘pumping’ he told me all about himself.
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us (1999) 134: Some Law got to pumping him and he [...] let out that kind of a squawk.
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 552: She always giggles when I try to pump her.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 60: Now he had to pump Aunt Ada and find out how to empty the tub.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 154: Thinking he was a cop trying to pump Jackie about who was doing what.
[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 159: Pumping me [...] like I’m some sort of harp booby.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘To Hull and Back’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] He doesn’t know who the courier is, that’s what he was pumping me about.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 192: I’ve pumped the sorry cunt for more information about Bunty’s mental state.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 376: Barb saw him pump Jimmy.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Old Scores [ebook] Swann was asked to stick around and pump the journos.

2. to duck someone under the pump, as a punishment.

[UK]R. Brome Northern Lasse I iv: A Divell in a most gentlewomanlike apparition. It had been well to have pumpd her. Is shee gone?
[UK]Ord. and Declar. both Ho., Lords Day 8: They conveyed him to the pump and pumpt him [OED].
[UK]‘P.R.’ Whores Dialogue 4: Oh! the Pump, the Pump, the very thought of a Pump put me in such a fine condition that I had need to have been to a Pump indeed to have made me sweet.
[UK]T. Shadwell Virtuoso II in Works (1720) I 345: Pump him soundly, impudent fellow!
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Pump [...] to drench, Bailives, Serjeants, Pick-pockets, &c.
[UK]T. Lucas Lives of the Gamesters (1930) 143: He hath often undergone the penance of being [...] severely cuff’d, pull’d by the nose, and sometimes pump’d.
[UK]N. Ward Amorous Bugbears 10: Like a Dutchman in the Rasp-House, is forc’d to Pump or Drown.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 339: They as unmercifully pump’d him and duck’d him in a Horse-Pond.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Pump [...] Pumping was also a punishment for bailiffs who attempted to act in privileged places, such as the Mint, Temple. It is also a piece of discipline administered to a pickpocket caught in the fact, when there is no pond at hand.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK]C.M. Westmacott Eng. Spy I 410: He [...] after undergoing a most delightful pumping upon, was rough-dried by being tossed in a blanket.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford II 107: He was pumped by the mob for the theft of a bird’s-eye wipe.
[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 21: pump v. […]. To hold one under a pump, and drench. (Obsolete).

3. to have sexual intercourse; thus n. pumping [SE pump, to move vigorously up and down].

[UK] ‘Gee ho, Dobin’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) II 204: I worked at her Pump till the Sucker grew dry, / And then I left pumping, a good Reason why.
[US]Kerouac letter 10 Jan. in Charters I (1995) 299: I glanced once out the backwindow as I pumped.
[US](con. 1930s) R. Wright Lawd Today 180: The white men carried their gals off and started pumping away.
[UK]M. Novotny Kings Road 22: I don’t pump nameless bodies!
[US]D. Mamet Sexual Perversity in Chicago (1994) 53: I’m pumping away.
[US]J.L. Gwaltney Drylongso 62: If I was a cracker I might say, ‘Hell with her. She’s not my color, so pump her!’.
[US]R.C. Cruz Straight Outta Compton 90: Diana’s booty is like the grand Canyon and I’m going to pump it until it runs dry.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 9: The Richmond boys [...] seemed to be in two minds about what to do first, attack us or pump the girl.
[UK]J. Niven Kill Your Friends (2009) 70: He works late at the office pumping his way through her successors.
[UK]J. Niven Kill Your Friends (2009) 73: That’s all he’s got not, isn’t it? The pumping [...] No nose-up, no pills, no frosty beers.

4. to break wind.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 933/2: Scots; C.19–20.
[UK]Viz June/July 24: Corks! I’ve pumped off my nose to spite my face!
[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 74: The four-eyed Scotch geggy pumped loudly and pushed his dirty glasses up his nose.

5. to weep [SE pump, to raise up water].

[UK]Marryat Snarleyyow I 108: So let us leave all crying to the girls we leave on shore. / They may pump, / As in we jump / To the boat, and say ‘Good bye’.

6. to exploit, to extort from.

[UK]T. Taylor Ticket-Of-Leave Man Act I: It would be a sin to drop such a beautiful milch cow! Suppose we pumped him in partnership.

7. (US teen) to ride pillion on a motorcycle or scooter [ety. unknown].

[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 154: Hey, Jane, since you have a two-seater how about giving me a pump?

8. (W.I.) to catch a free ride.

[WI]Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.
[WI]F. Collymore Notes for Gloss. of Barbadian Dial. 92: Pump. To get a free ride or drive, as I wonder if I can pump a lift to town.

9. (drugs) to sell crack cocaine [one ‘pumps’ it out].

[US]T. Fontana ‘You Bet Your Life’ Oz ser. 4 ep. 8 [TV script] You two fucks ain’t selling enough tits [...] You motherfuckers get pumping.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 17: Pumping — Selling crack.
[US]J. Díaz This Is How You Lose Her 97: The only job Rafa had ever was pumping to the Old Bridge whitekids.

10. (US black) to play music loudly [one ‘pumps up the volume’].

[UK]J. Mowry Way Past Cool 24: CD deck pumping a Too Short rap.
[US] Hip-Hop Connection Dec. 21: The first time I heard someone driving by pumpin’ my first album.

In derivatives

pumpage (n.) [-age sfx; but poss. a nonce-word coined for the novel King’s Road (1971) by Mariella Novotny]

sexual intercourse.

[UK]M. Novotny Kings Road 22: He practically thought he was having pumpage with Royalty after your little sales-talk.
pumping (adj.)

1. usu. of music, hard-hitting, energetic, with a heavy bass line.

[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 19: They just got a pumpin’ dance toon on the airwaves an’ all that’.

2. (Aus.) full of excitement.

[Aus]L. Redhead Peepshow [ebook] The place is pumping.

In phrases

pump at (v.)

see sense 1 above.

pumping party (n.)

1. (US gay) a gathering at which men enlarge their penises with vacuum pumps.

L. Goldstein Male Body 47: In fact, the parallel world to ‘Iron Pumpers’ is ‘Vacuum Pumpers’ [...] Such size queens attend weekly ‘pumping parties,’ where they mix and mingle, all the while admiring the extended wares of the pumpees.

2. (US) an illegal gathering at which cosmetic injections of silicone, botox, etc., are given.

S. Stukin in Vibe (Boulder, CO) Mar. 143/1: In 2001, Vera Lawrence, a 53-year-old Miami woman, died during one of these illegal ‘pumping parties’ after silicone was injected into her buttocks.
G. McCrea Drawing Dead 373: Yeah, apparently there’s this thing that some guys do. They get the silicone. They inject it. Sometimes in their dicks, make them bigger. It’s called a pumping party. Ouch.
P. Tucker Sideline Scandals 180: My mouth dropped to the floor when I noticed that man as he injected something into a woman’s breast. [...] ‘What the hell’s going on here?’ I asked no one in particular. ‘It’s a pumping party,’ someone answered. ‘Duh’.
pump out (v.)

1. (US Und.) to kill by shooting.

[US]R. Whitfield Green Ice (1988) 28: I see by the papers that Cherulli got pumped out. [Ibid.] 34: Red didn’t pump Donner out.

2. see sense 1 above.

pump ship (v.) [naut. jargon pump ship, to pump the ship dry of water]

1. to vomit.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.:
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.

2. to urinate; also as n., an act of urination.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.:
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn) n.p.: To pump ship; to make water and, sometimes, to vomit.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 321: So I just went round to the back of the yard to pumpship.
[UK](con. 1914–18) Brophy & Partridge Songs and Sl. of the British Soldier.
[UK]A. Burgess Right to an Answer (1978) 69: The men went out to pump ship.
[Ire]P. Boyle At Night All Cats Are Grey 67: The silly bugger must have folded up after having a pumpship. [Ibid.] 253: The three of us, lined up, shoulder to shoulder, as we pumpship against a rock.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 29: Think I’ll pump ship and have a bit of a walk around.
(ref. to 1912) J. Whale Times Literary Supplement 17 Dec. n.p.: Sir, – Reviewing Nigel Jones’s sex-preoccupied ‘Rupert Brooke’... Elizabeth Lowry believes she learns from it that Brooke’s semen sometimes came out green. What Brooke wrote, in a 1912 letter, was ‘When I pumpship it’s bright green.’ In fact, to pumpship (a euphemism often used by my father, a cleric of Brooke’s generation) meant nothing more exciting than to urinate.
[UK]Guardian 7 Jan. 18: Jones sees a reference to masturbation. In fact, to pumpship [...] meant nothing more than to urinate.
pump up (v.)

1. to exaggerate.

[UK]G.F. Newman A Prisoner’s Tale 133: He took about two grand off us, pumped us right up about some help.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 40: Even though he’d pumped them up many, many times – for the first time Wheezer Finlay allowed the notion that he was working with a real band.

2. (US black/campus) to make livelier, to fill with energy.

[US]L. Bing Do or Die (1992) 49: ‘Killin’ somebody, that make me higher.’ [...] ‘Kinda pumps you up.’.
[US]Source Aug. 131: You got to pump yourself up.

3. to lift weights, to bodybuild.

[US]T. Willocks Green River Rising 45: To his right [...] was where the blacks pumped up.

4. (US gang) to express loyalty to.

[US](con. 1990s) in J. Miller One of the Guys 99: ‘Everybody over there who in a gang over there, who pump up been pumping up for while’.