In Reply to: Pimp-out/Pimp-up posted by Brian from Shawnee on November 12, 2008 at 21:54:
: : : : 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
: : I did not see or hear the reporter's remark that the President's daughter had been pimped out, so it is possible that the reporter meant it. It's hard for me to believe that someone would make such a rude and calumnious remark, even if he meant it only figuratively,
: : SS
: It was reporter David Gregory of MSNBC who used the phrase in regard to Chelsea Clinton when Hillary was still alive and kicking in the primaries. Neither Hillary nor Bill, but especially Hillary, was amused. Well, Bill might have been a little amused.
: Now if you take a car or a pickup truck you can "pimp it out" by attaching various after-market devices to it until it is visually and acoustically stunning and is "totally pimped out". Parallel to MTV's Pimp My Ride there is CMT's Pimp My Truck. CMT is Country Music Television.
: If you simply "pimp" you are acting ostentatiously cool. For example if you see Manny Ramirez hit a home run, then admire it and take his time rounding the bases to the wild cheers of the home crowd and to the annoyance of the other team, he's pimping.
The "pimped-up" in the New Scientist article (Nov, 2008) arises from the metaphor which has the T-cells as cars and the scientists as designers. The special "super T-cells" (which can recognise part of a protein in the HIV virus better than most) were bred using natural selection, but the writer suggests that the scientific team "souped-up" as well as "pimped-up" the "T-cells", so that "the customised T-cells outperformed normal T-cells".