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March 23, 1990


Author Affiliations

Donald Guthrie Foundation for Medical Research Sayre, Pa

Donald Guthrie Foundation for Medical Research Sayre, Pa

JAMA. 1990;263(12):1632-1633. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440120054022

To the Editor.—  In the November 10, 1989, Letters column, Dr Kleinman1 quite correctly calls attention to the fact that the word pimping does not exist in any dictionary.Lest this word, possibly used as a sensational catchword, become a neologism, I would like to call attention to an error that must have occurred and that I cannot understand escaped your reviewers.What is obviously meant is pumping. It is found in all dictionaries defined as "to question persistently." In its milder and more modern form it is referred to as "debriefing." The German word that Dr Brancati misused is the same pumpe — without an umlaut. It has the identical meaning to its English counterpart and was much used with respect to the interrogation of prisoners.I have no reason to believe that William Harvey would have used a word with as bad a connotation as "pimp"