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Re: Pimp-out/Pimp-up

Posted by Smokey Stover on November 12, 2008 at 19:55

In Reply to: Pimp-out/Pimp-up posted by hcbowman on November 12, 2008 at 17:16:

: I read the UK science rag entitled "New Scientist," and I generally find its word choice fairly unremarkable. Today I encountered this uncharacteristic headline:

: Pimped-up T-cells seek out and destroy HIV

: I didn't know that "pimped-out" (US?) and "pimped-up" (UK?) had become mainstream, and I'd appreciate knowing more about their emerging usage. There's a television show in the US called "Pimp My Ride," and there was controversy some time ago about a reporter describing a US President's daughter as "pimped-out" for a social event.

: Thanks!

I don't belong to the right generation to answer your question, but it seems obvious that I'm not the only one. I suspect thqt no one cool enough to know the current usage of "pimp" as a verb would think of talking about the President's daughter as "pimped up." Perhaps the phrase was used as a mistaken offshoot of "primp," although the historical use of "primp" does not require "up" (except perhaps used with the past participle as a modifier).

As for the T-cells, why not use the much more easily understood "pumped up"?

I understand pimping a car (Pimp my ride) to mean turning it into a "pimpmobile," that is, a ride suitable for a pimp. This would mean a car that was ostentatious, perhaps not only gaudy but powerful, and plainly expensive. No doubt there is a lot of variation in what pimps are really like (some, I hear, are quiet grandmothers), but the classic picture is of a youngish man who likes to dress and to drive with gaudy ostentation.

I don't think that the American usage of "pimped out" is parallel to U.K. "pimped up." "Pimped out" refers to what a pimp does, that is, turn female acquaintances into a source of income--he pimps them out to whatever customers are willing to pay for their services. I believe that "pimped up" means the same in both countries.
SS