"pull vacuum"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Dec 19 03:03:19 UTC 2006

If this is in OED, I haven't found it.

  Our car repairman explained that because something or other was "gunked up," some other thing was "pulling vacuum."

  My wife tells me that when she majored in chemistry in the '60s, this was a common idiom. She reports that a vacuum pump was always said to be "pulling vacuum" when it created a vacuum.  My impression is that the car guy meant that something was laboring against a vacuum.

  Google confirms the idiom is real.  Is it syntactically like "ride bus" ?


Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list