pound (v)

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 11 22:33:12 UTC 2013

There are three separate entries in OED for Pound, v.--one for repeated
heavy striking (generally, with variations--v.1), one for placing
someone in a pound (think, "dog pound"--v.2) and one for weighing things
or checking against a standard weight (v.3). That leaves a lot of
openings. Things like "pounding rain" (not a verb, of course, but...)
have perhaps the more poetic "rain that pounds", but both of these fall
in some way under v.1, so this is not interesting. "To pound the
keyboard" as a metaphor works because it's v.1 as well--it's not
specifically mentioned, but it's a small variation (with the original
"pound the keys" or "pound the typewriter" for journalists and writers,
I suppose). Still, "He pounds the keyboard for a living" is a
description of a professional activity.

But then we have "to pound the law" (as in the old joke involving the
facts and the table), which is shortened from "expound" (or, perhaps,
it's the original version that's fallen out of use--either way, the joke
relies on the pun). There is nothing in the OED that matches it (that I
could find). And then there's the slangish "to pound beer" (or a few
other beverages), which is somewhat similar to "to slam beer", both
essentially meaning "to chug rapidly and without pause". Certainly
nothing of that sort has found itself to the proper dictionary. Perhaps
JL can illuminate further. Here's an example of such "pounding":


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

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