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November 10, 1989

Pimper Pimped

JAMA. 1989;262(18):2542. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430180079030

To the Editor.—  The other members of my division and I savored Dr Brancati's commentary.1 We have become familiar with the expression "pimping" from its use by our division chief. Curiosity prompted my consultation with several unabridged American English dictionaries as well as the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. These sources fail to provide a definition consistent with the activity satirized in the article and understood by my colleagues and me. In addition to describing a disreputable activity, the Oxford English Dictionary gives examples of its use in a more figurative sense for arranging deals of dubious propriety. The only other use of the word I could find was a somewhat archaic reference to the activity of getting oneself up in foppish finery, perhaps a variant of primping. In any event, I am now curious about the origins of pimping as used by physicians, especially academicians, to