I said

I borrowed a bicycle pump yesterday.

and it bothers me because I think there should be nicer options (less formal, more conversational).

Is there any colloquial alternative to "a bicycle pump"? It is the right phrase to use in everyday language? How common is it in general (and in BrE, in particular)?

AmE speakers are welcome as well, of course.
Thank you in advance.

  • I'd call it a "tire pump" rather than a "bicycle pump". First, you're pumping the tire, not the whole bicycle. Second, saves a couple of syllables.
    – The Photon
    May 8, 2019 at 22:11

2 Answers 2


There is nothing very formal about "a bicycle pump". That is just the normal way to say it. It is completely normal in conversation.

You could say "a bike pump", or just "a pump" when the context implies "bicycle"

I borrowed a pump yesterday, because my bike's front tyre was flat.

  • 1
    AmE here, "a bike pump" or "a pump for my bike" also work here. May 8, 2019 at 22:36
  • @James Thank toy for the answer. You don't use "pump" as a verb to say "inflate", though... right? I am also wondering if there a word "inflator" or "inflater" May 11, 2019 at 12:19

It was always just a 'pump' for me.

If it has a different name in professional circles I can't say!

Check out some synonym sites, or check local slang (I am a Londoner).

  • 2
    I agree, although "I borrowed a pump yesterday" might be a bit vague without additional context.
    – J.R.
    May 8, 2019 at 21:44
  • 1
    Most definitely, I can think of some pumps I would prefer not to be thought of as borrowing! But let's not go down that path... May 8, 2019 at 21:48

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