genuine ugg boots sale uk Using ‘Pump’ To Mean ‘Shoe’ Dates Back To 1500s
A:. Asking me about a type of women’s shoe is like asking a Muscovite about surfboards. True fact: Until I was around 40 years old, I didn’t know the difference between a dress and a skirt. And women’s shoes? Let’s put it this way, I’m no Carrie Bradshaw. To me, “Manolo Blahnik” sounds like a Russian surfboard.
A quick lunch table poll of my female teaching colleagues reveals that a “pump” is apparently a high heeled shoe that stays on the foot by gripping the toe and heel tightly. When I asked these women for more information, they started eyeing me warily and heading off to the salad bar, so I backed off.
So, after lunch, it was off to the library to check out the origin of the term in some dictionaries. I suspected that these shoes are called “pumps” because their height pumps up the foot, or perhaps because wearing them inflates a person’s appearance or confidence. But every dictionary listed the origin of the “shoe” definition of “pump,” which first emerged in the 1500s, as “unknown.”
Morris notes that “pump,” meaning “a mechanical device for raising water,” emerged in the 1400s, apparently as an imitation of the sound a pump makes. Morris concedes that the origin of the term “pump” for a shoe is uncertain but proposes a persuasive explanation:
The key element of a mechanical pump is a piston or plunger that fits very tightly into a cylinder or tube. When the piston is raised, it draws the liquid up through the tube, and a valve closes to prevent the uplifted water from draining out.
During the 1500s, someone must have noticed a resemblance between the piston’s snug fit in the cylinder and the snug fit of a foot in a close fitting shoe. So this type of shoe became known as a “pump.” (Reinforcing this origin is the fact that the pistons in pumps were sometimes called “pump shoes,” presumably because, like shoes on a person walking, they rise and fall.