[Ads-l] Attention Garson: new postdating of (metaphorical) "prime the pump"

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Fri May 12 15:06:40 EDT 2017


Thanks, John.  I stand duly corrected.  

Would it be fair then to say that the term, "prime the pump", is *more* related
to water pumps than to petrol pumps?  As you describe it below, the dynamics of
priming a water pump would differ from those of priming a petrol pump.  Turning
on a continuous feed in both cases, but not necessarily gravity when it comes to
petrol.

Or similar fluids -- somewhere in my head, I have memories of an old Massie
Fergusson tractor having to have its pump primed, and an even older tractor that
ran on paraffin.

But that was long ago, and in another country, and besides the machine has long
gone to the Great Junkyard in the Sky.

Robin

> 
>     On 12 May 2017 at 19:50 "Baker, John" <JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM> wrote:
> 
> 
>     One does prime water pumps. The hand pump, which was once familiar to all
> Americans, operates by suction: The rod, which is operated by hand, lifts a
> piston that is at the top of a column of water, and each time the rod is
> pumped more water is brought to the outlet. If there is air below the piston,
> it will not lift the column of water and the pump will not work. When the pump
> is first used, and thereafter whenever there for any reason is not a
> continuous column of water below the piston, the user must put enough water in
> the pump for that water column to be created, a process referred to as
> "priming."
> 
> 
>     John Baker
> 
> 
>     -----Original Message-----
>     From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of Robin Hamilton
>     Sent: Friday, May 12, 2017 1:42 PM
>     To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>     Subject: Re: Attention Garson: new postdating of (metaphorical) "prime the
> pump"
> 
>     Does one actually prime water [sic] pumps? I'd always assumed this
> referred to
>     priming the pump in a petrol engine, or summat.
> 
>     Mind you, I may be wrong, as when I was a youngun, pumps of any kind were
> still
>     a twinkle in the eye of the future, and we drew water from the well in a
> bucket.
> 
>     R.
> 
>     >
>     > On 12 May 2017 at 15:58 George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU> wrote:
>     >
>     >
>     > You have to keep in mind that back on the old Trump homestead in
>     > Brooklyn,
>     > his family had a pump -- that was how Brooklyn people got their water,
>     > in
>     > olden times, the 1940s & 50s. So he's very familiar with having to prime
>     > a
>     > water pump, and naturally the metaphor would come to his mind.
>     >
>     > GAT
>     >
>     > On Fri, May 12, 2017 at 10:39 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
>     > wrote:
>     >
>     > > From an interview with President Trump (as in Pump) in The Economist [
>     > > http://www.economist.com/Trumptranscript]:
>     > >
>     > > Reporter: But beyond that it’s OK if the tax plan increases the
>     > > deficit?
>     > >
>     > > Trump: It is OK, because it won’t increase it for long. You may have
>     > > two
>     > > years where you’ll…you understand the expression “prime the pump”?
>     > >
>     > > Reporter: Yes.
>     > >
>     > > Trump: We have to prime the pump.
>     > >
>     > > Reporter:It’s very Keynesian.
>     > >
>     > > Trump: We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world. Have you heard
>     > > that
>     > > expression before, for this particular type of an event?
>     > >
>     > > Reporter: Priming the pump?
>     > >
>     > > Trump: Yeah, have you heard it?
>     > >
>     > > Reporter: Yes.
>     > >
>     > > Trump: Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t
>     > > heard
>     > > it. I mean, I just…I came up with it a couple of days ago and I
>     > > thought
>     > > it
>     > > was good. It’s what you have to do.
>     > >
>     > > Reporter: It’s...
>     > >
>     > > Trump: Yeah, what you have to do is you have to put something in
>     > > before
>     > > you can get something out.
>     > > ------------------------------------------------------------
>     > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>     > >
>     >
>     >
>     >
>     > --
>     > George A. Thompson
>     > The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
>     > Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
>     > Univ. Pr., 1998.
>     >
>     > But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
>     > your lowly tomb. . .
>     > L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems. Boston, 1827, p. 112
>     >
>     > The Trump of Doom -- affectionately (of course) also known as The
>     > Dunghill
>     > Toadstool. (Here's a picture of one.)
>     >
>     > http://www.parliament.uk/worksofart/artwork/james-gillray/an-excrescence---a-fungus-alias-a-toadstool-upon-a-dunghill/3851
>     >
>     > ------------------------------------------------------------
>     > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>     >
> 
>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>     The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 
> 
>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>     The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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