"pull vacuum"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 19 21:09:01 UTC 2006

At the L.A. Dept. of Water & Power, we said "pull _a_ vacuum." But
then, this is the same organization that spoke of "on _the_ line,"
whereas other power companies spoke merely of "on line."


On 12/18/06, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
> Subject:      "pull vacuum"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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" ?
>   JL
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