Pump Your Brakes

What does pump your brakes mean?

Pause and reflect

When you're told to pump your brakes, it means you should stop and take a second to think about what you're doing. Likely, you're currently being a bit presumptuous, overeager, or both.

Where does pump your brakes come from?

Before anti-lock brakes were invented, people pumped their cars' brakes to stop quickly without skidding. Pumping the brakes allowed a car's wheels to continue rotating while the car slowed, preventing the driver from losing control of their car and careening off the road.

Eventually, people began using the phrase pump your brakes to tell others to stop and "course correct" themselves.

How is pump your brakes used?

When you notice that someone has a) assumed something they shouldn't have and b) is acting on that assumption, you can tell that person to pump their brakes. You can also use pump your brakes to tell someone to stop when they're acting without considering the consequences.


Woah, kiddo! Pump your brakes! What'd we say about eating too many cookies?
A use of pump your brakes on Twitter
A use of pump your brakes on Twitter

Related Slang


Updated June 23, 2021

Pump your brakes definition by Slang.net

This page explains what the slang term "Pump your brakes" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the Slang.net team.

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