pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Discuss word origins and meanings.

pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Archived Topic » Thu Dec 16, 2004 3:27 pm

To make something better; to improve it, as to detail a car
Can anyone with teeners corroborate the currency? Thanks kindly all--dh
Submitted by dale hileman (Apple Valley, CA - U.S.A.)
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pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Dec 16, 2004 3:41 pm

Dale, I don’t have any teenagers, but I do have a mouse and when I did a Google search on ‘pimp up’ I got about 5800 hits which largely referred to cars and trucks, but also included ‘pimping up’ such things as computers, guitars, one’s style, one’s hair, a wheelchair, one’s stuff (resume), a review, . . .

The connection between ‘pimping up’ and cars appears to me to come from the fact that starting in the 1970s a ‘pimpmobile’ (17,500 Google hits) was a big flashy car used by a pimp. Today a ‘pimpmobile’ is defined in just about any standard dictionary as: a large and ostentatious or vulgarly ornate automobile, typically one painted in bright colors and fitted out elaborately – a car suitable for a pimp.

Thus to “pimp up one’s car” became an expression meaning to make one’s car more flashy in a vulgar sort of way, at least to folks who consider themselves to have more refined taste. We have all seen such cars, ranging from the limo with the dark windows to lowriders, with the lightening etc. painted on the sides and the chain steering wheel, etc.

So I suppose the folks doing the ‘pimping up’ consider that they are, as you suggest, improving the looks of their car, ‘sprucing it up,’ ‘retrofitting,’ ‘refurbishing,’ making it more visually flashy. Note how this meaning transferred over to ‘pimping up’ other things such as one’s review, computer, style, etc. But recognize that just’ improving’ is definitely not the whole story, for if one made an improvement that no one that you were interested in impressing could see or admire (e.g. better gas mileage, side air bags, a battery with a 7-year warranty, improved crash test rating, or you lowered your cholesterol, improved your bone density, . . . ) you probably would not have ‘pimped up’ in their estimation.

Finally, it appears that the ‘up’ is often dropped, leaving the verb ‘pimp’ to carry the meaning of ‘pimp up,’ on its own. However, this could lead to confusion with the other verb ‘pimp,’ act as a pimp (as for a prostitute), and one would have to examine the context to understand which was meant.
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Ken – December 23, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Dec 16, 2004 3:54 pm

Excellent detective work, Ken
"Pimp up" must be very recent as I don't find it in Urban Dict. Although I did find there under "pimp" a couple of defs in the "to make better" sense, I dismissed them as spurious. It takes real expertise to think of adding the "up." I shall have to remember this trick--Thank you most kindly--dh
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pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Archived Reply » Thu Dec 16, 2004 4:21 pm

I wonder if there is a hollier term then 'pimping up' for those that pimped up the popemobile? Just kidding...
Ahmed
26th of December,2004
Reply from Ahmed ELNamer (Dawson Creek - Canada)
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Re: pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:43 am

Speaking of pimping up, here’s one that’s way up:
<2008 “Pimp My Space Station: NASA announced that the International Space Station, 220 miles above Earth, is being expanded into a more comfortable, greener home for the six astronauts who will be living there by spring.”—Time Magazine, 24 November>
When I had checked the slang dictionaries for my above 2004 posting, PIMP UP, I didn’t find it listed. However, it has since appeared in the following:

CASSELL’S DICTIONARY OF SLANG (2nd edition, 2005)

PIMP (also PIMP UP) verb [1970s and still in use] (U.S. campus): To dress up, of a person and of an object.
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NEW PARTRIDGE DICTIONARY OF SLANG AND UNCONVENTIONAL ENGLISH (2006)

PIMP UP verb (U.S.): To add flashy touches to something; to dress something up.
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<2003 “Intel, Microsoft pimp up portable media players (PIMPS [[portable intelligent media players]]): . . . The devices will be ‘small enough to fit in a coat pocket’ and will let people carry around video, stills and music..”—TheInquirer.net (London), 9 January>

<2004 “Every Thursday, the VIP room will be pimped up with rock décor and rock music.”—Chicago Tribune, 17 May, page 59>

<2004 “ . . . industry insiders were taken aback by the return of Schwinn’s old corporate shill, Greg Bagny. Bagny, now freelancing for Yakima, pimped up his client’s booth [[at Las Vegas bike show]] like a used car lot.”—VeloNews, 6 October>

<2004 “Flossing in a Filthy, Pimped-Up Whip: . . . Vehicles wheels, as they were once called are now whips. . . What is the latest term for the old cool and the more recent phat and rad? Try tight, which is making a comeback, as in ‘Did you see his pimped-out ride ­ it was tight. . . An obnoxious male showoff seeking to attract females is derided as a floss or as engaged in flossing, . . . if I were to accost a young person and say, ‘What's the current term among your contemporaries for “desirable, attractive”?’ the likely response would be, ‘Filthy, Gramps.’”—On Language by William Safire, New York Times, 28 November>

<2006 “The Blackout have decided to bring Christmas indoors and pimped up their drum kit with fairy lights.”—GIGWISE.com>

<2007 “Obama to Pimp Up Air Force One: . . . Obama has declared his intentions to our Washington reporter-on-the-scene as to how he will modify Air Force One if he is elected as President. First he says he will tint the windows. Then he will put spinning wheel rims on the plane's tires . . .”—TheSpoof.com, 21 August>

<2008 “Slipping a copy of Bowie's Heroes into the ageing cassette deck, we [
] were off and running. Before long, we were attracting looks of dismay from neds [[hooligans]] in pimped-up Puntos [[Fiat’ supermini cars]].”—Sunday Maila(Glasgow, Scotland), 24 February>
(quotes from archived sources)
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Ken G –November 23, 2008
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Re: pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:47 am

Can anyone doubt that it is only a short step from "pimp my ride" to "pimp my bride"?
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Re: pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:07 am

Sounds like one might be able to base a novel on that. How about something like Bride's Head Revisited?
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Re: pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by trolley » Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:55 pm

Lately, I've noticed "pimp" taking on another meaning, something closer to the original sense. It means to sell or promote something. I hear of authors pimping their new books, or actors pimping their latest movie.
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Re: pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:17 pm

.. in Aus .. and sourced from the US .. we have a TV show on Fox called Pimp My Ride which is a panelbeaters dream come true .. the transformations that take place before your eyes are nothing short of bloody amazing .. any resemblance between the original car and the one that is driven away is very hard to find ..

WoZ in his Disco
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Re: pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:25 am

trolley wrote: Lately, I've noticed "pimp" taking on another meaning, something closer to the original sense. It means to sell or promote something. I hear of authors pimping their new books, or actors pimping their latest movie.
John, You’re right.

The OED recently completely rewrote its listing on the verb meanings of PIMP (June, 2008). Included is the transitive verb form you mention, but I’ll list their other senses also:

THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY:

PIMP intransitive verb:

1a) [1639] To act or work in a manner suggestive of a pimp; to promote the interests of a corrupt or immoral person, especially for material gain or advancement. Frequently with for.
<1681 “The carefull Devil . . . providently pimps for ill desires.”—Absalom & Achitophel by John Dryden, page 4>

<1733 <1733 “I had never pimp'd to the Vices or Infidelity of any.”—The English Malady by G. Cheyne, III. iv, page 331>

<1813 “How much longer will man continue to pimp for the gluttony of death?”—Queen Mab by Shelley, Notes, page 238>

<1855 “When Mr. Webster prostituted himself to the Slave Power this family went out and pimped for him in the streets.”—The Trial of Theodore Parker by T. Parker, page 218>

<1988 “I can't stand watching Johnny [[Carson]] pimp for NBC's latest sitcom.”—The Story of My Life by J. McInerney, page 60>

<1992 “Rudman, pimping for the Bush Administration, defended Gates's self-proclaimed and curious ignorance.”—The Nation (New York), 18 May, page 656/1>
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1b) PIMP [[standard meaning]]: To act as a pimp; to procure a sexual partner for another, especially in exchange for money. Later: to control or manage the activities of a prostitute, in return for a proportion of the earnings; to live off the income of a prostitute. Frequently with for or (now obsolete) to.
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PIMP transitive verb

2a) PIMP (obsolete) To act as a pimp by introducing (a couple).

2b) PIMP [[standard meaning]] To hire (a person) to another for sexual purposes; to prostitute (a person). Frequently with to, out. rare before late 20th century.

2c) PIMP: In extended use [[To make use of often dishonorably for one's own gain or benefit (Merriam-Webster Online)]]
<1992 “He's pimping himself here, knowing he needs the publicity but hating himself for playing the game.”—Premiere, April, page 50/1>

<1998 “They object to the way those mainstream manufacturers are, in their view, ‘pimping’ urban culture.”—Time Magazine, 19 January, page 20/2>

<2001 “We have to get Soiree out there, pimping his book.”—Happiness (2003) by W. Ferguson, xxv. page 142>

<2002 “You can make your four walls pitch in too, by pimping out the space within them to be used for everything from a hotel to a film set.”—Time Out New York, 25 April, page 19/2>

<2003 “And until very recently, the law has said that computer software, on the whole, is a literary work, not patentable but protected by copyright. If the European proposals get their way - and when did they ever not? - it will serve to consolidate the power of the sleazy, the patent-pimps and the few giant players [[e.g. Microsoft, Amazon, . . .]]. Our only weapons are representation, ridicule and boycott. Even then, there are some companies which do nothing; which just pimp their patents, demanding money with menaces. . . . “—The Independent on Sunday (London), 31 August>

<2004 “It is disingenuous for John B. Stimpson to portray William Weld and his ilk as moderates even as he prepares to pimp his upcoming book about the enigmatic former governor.”—Boston Herald, 10 August>

<2006 “ ‘The current social system pimps (exploits) blacks through poor educational systems, the prison-industrial complex, and other structures.’ Dead Prez [[a hip hop duo]] calls on the oppressed to, in turn, flip the script, ‘pimp’ (exploit) the system," said Jackson [[doctoral candidate in African-American and African Studies at Michigan State University]].”— Herald News (Joliet, Illinois), 7 May>

<2007 . . . just accuse her of ‘pimping her Japness’), but let's not. It's demanding and rewarding enough just to process Deerhoof's [[San Francisco indie rock group]] musical mania for what it is . . .”—The Stranger], 1 February>

<2008 “. . . but it started out as that kind of book, and then I think it [[An Incomplete & Inaccurate History of Sport]] morphed into something else," Mayne [[Kenny, author and ESPN sportscaster]] said during a stop in Beverly Hills to pimp the product.”—Daily News (Los Angeles), 27 April>
3) PIMP intransitive, slang (originally U.S., now chiefly Australia and New Zealand). With about (now obsolete), on. To inform on someone; to tell tales about someone.
<1865 “That's what your pimping about us comes to. Want to ruin our business, do you?”—Atlantic Monthly, July, page 53/1>

<1938 “He reckons I pimped on him—and that's how the johns went out and grabbed 'em both”—Capricornia by Xavier Herbert, page 524>

<1949 “He would grope out, head down, afraid to meet someone who would pimp on him.”—Landfall, March, page 30>

<1990 “They look just like school prefects. . . they'd pimp on you soon as look at you.”—Once were Warriors (1995) by A. Duff, iii. page 33>
4) PIMP (originally and chiefly U.S.)

4a) PIMP intransitive: TO PIMP ON (also OFF): To live at the expense of; to take advantage of, exploit.
<1928 “I'm . . . able to take care of whatever I can get without having a woman to pimp on me.”—CRIME by E. Guerin, v. page 93>

<1942 “‘You got any money?’ the girl asked . . . ‘Nobody ain't pimping on me. You dig me?’”— Z. N. Hurston in Mother Wit (1973) by A. Dundes, page 226/1>

<1974 “People don't like it that I got clothes and cash. . . They think I am pimping off my women.”—Jones: Portrait of a Mugger by J. Willwerth, vii. page 100>

<1996 “Film, being made-up, still has the moral edge over playback, which pimps on actual people's actual lives and deaths.”—Interzone, April, page 31/3>
4b) PIMP transitive: To mock, insult; to cheat, deceive; to take advantage of.
<1968 “Pimp. . .., make uncomplimentary remarks about someone. Tease or annoy someone.”—College Undergraduate Slang Study (typescript) by C. F. Baker et al, page 171>

<1979 “We might have been ‘pimped.’ You know, I don't trust that Sarah.”—Son of First Generation in Call me not Man[/i] (1987) by M. Matshoba, page 74>

<1990 “Deejo got pimped pretty bad about it in the neighborhood.”—Coast of Chicago, page 65> by S. Dybek>

<2000 “Black people create, but we don't reap the benefits. . . We get punked and pimped. If we were white boys, we'd all be rich by now.”—New York Times, 6 July, page A17/1>
5) PIMP intransitive: Welsh English and Irish English. To spy on lovers; to engage in voyeurism.
<1969 Pimp, to watch on the sly.”—in Gowerland and Its Language: A History of the English Speech of the Gower Peninsula, South Wales (1994) by R. Penhallurick, page 73>

<1976 “Dai—Pimping again then, is it?”—Witness my Death by Roy Lewis, i. page 13>

<1996 Pimp, to spy on . . . to watch furtively.”—Language of Kilkenny: Lexicon, Semantics, Structures by S. Moylan, page 199>
(quotes from Oxford English Dictionary and archived sources)
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Ken – November 24, 2008
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Re: pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by JerrySmile » Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:12 am

5) PIMP intransitive: Welsh English and Irish English. To spy on lovers; to engage in voyeurism.

Interesting, this one. Thanks, Ken.
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Re: pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Bobinwales » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:02 pm

As a young teenager I only knew pimp as a voyeur. I was astonished to find that it was also someone who made a living from ladies doing naughty things. Now that I am in my sixties I find that you can pimp a car, a book, a film and god knows what. It is an amazing language we use.
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Re: pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Shelley » Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:54 am

And after all this time, while I thought my mother was in the ladies' powdering her nose, she was actually pimping! Well, I never.
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Re: pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Tony Farg » Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:30 pm

When mine did it, she disguised it by calling it "primping" I now realise.
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Re: pimp [pimp up -- Forum Mod.]

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:22 am

Tony,

It's naturally impossible for me to second-guess what your mother believed she was saying, but 'primp' is a genuine word.
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