prime the pump


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.

prime the pump

Encourage the growth or action of something, as in Marjorie tried to prime the pump by offering some new issues for discussion. In the late 1800s this expression originally was used for pouring liquid into a pump to expel the air and make it work. In the 1930s it was applied to government efforts to stimulate the economy and thereafter was applied to other undertakings.
See also: prime, pump

prime the pump

mainly AMERICAN, JOURNALISM
COMMON If someone primes the pump, they take action to help something succeed or develop, usually by spending money on it. He said he would consider priming the pump through increased spending on roads or housing if the economy declined more rapidly than expected. Note: You can also talk about pump-priming, or say that someone pump-primes an economy or a project. I think we are going to have to do some more pump-priming in order to get the economy going. The plan offers a way of pump-priming an economy which is growing too slowly. Note: To prime a water pump means to pump it until it is full of water and all the air has been forced out, so that it is ready to be used.
See also: prime, pump

prime the pump

Informal
To encourage the growth or action of something.
See also: prime, pump
References in periodicals archive ?
That's a sum of money not to be sneezed at and one that we hope will prime the pump for many more cultural successes in years to come.
Developers and community activists gathered on the steps of the Farley Post Office to discuss plans for Moynihan Station East and West to prime the pump for a public hearing set to take place tomorrow (Thursday).
Of Elk and Men: The Spirit Within, will prime the pump until next September rolls around.
We have to raise more regional funds to prime the pump of transport investment and reduce the need to go cap in hand to Whitehall.
Use your advisers and consultants to prime the pump.
Rethinking its distribution strategy will also prime the pump.