Meaning of under the pump in English:

under the pump


  • Under pressure to do something.

    ‘they kept their composure well when we were under the pump’
    • ‘I was under the pump a little bit to get myself ready in the last couple of weeks with some back tightness.’
    • ‘By any count the brothers are under the pump as current difficulties are used to rationalize again.’
    • ‘There are plenty of other senior executives inside the bank who should be under the pump.’
    • ‘He will also undoubtedly have the support of a coach by his side who himself is under the pump.’
    • ‘Any local sport that isn't offering the kind of pizzazz or whiz bang marketing that is creating fresh and dynamic new sporting heroes is under the pump.’
    • ‘The controversial major sporting event again finds itself under the pump.’
    • ‘We'd been under the pump for so long we forget how to enjoy the game.’
    • ‘To date they haven't shown any of that when they've been under the pump, and I think that's the time for a true team to really lift and turn things around.’
    • ‘We certainly put them under the pump and in the end we just weren't quite up to it.’
    • ‘The most fundamental basic of the game at the highest level is that instinctive ability to make the right choice when you are under the pump.’


    Probably from an old practice of forcibly holding someone under a pump in a public place and pumping water over them, e.g. as a form of punishment.