Is It ‘Down the Pike’ or ‘Down the Pipe’?

Phrase down pike originally used to mean “in the course of events” and more recently “in the future”. point This is an abbreviation for revolving car and in this case a metaphor for something encountered on the way one is traveling. Sometimes down the pipe used with the same meaning, can show a combination of similarity between words spear And pipeline and phrase in the pipe means “things to come.”

We have some exciting things coming up spear for you in this article. Or, wait, they’re going down pipeline? Let’s find this out.

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Phrase down pike is included in the dictionary with two meanings: “in the course of the event” and “in the future.” The first of these is considerably older, well established in English in the early 20th century:

And she remembers that day when he took her in his arms and declared her the most amazing little woman to ever come. down pike. – Jack london, Valley of the Moon1913

Origin of Down Pike

The spear in this case stands for revolving car, can refer to any major road but was originally mentioned specifically to a toll road. In Middle English, turnip is a rotating, spiked frame that acts as a barrier, preventing traffic (perhaps a horse) from advancing until the driver pays the toll.

As major roads connecting cities and towns before highways, turn roads offer the unpredictable and unpredictable: travelers, goods, opportunities. So the use of down pike to describe the occurrence of the unknown of significance.

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The use of down pike meaning “in the future” is a more recent phenomenon:

An impressive series of albums by Anglo rappers coming soon down pike; G-Eazy and Macklemore are both set to release albums sometime this year. — Aaron Williams, Uproxx.comSeptember 26, 2017

This usage is not far from the meaning “in the course of events”; it focuses only on what is expected to happen, rather than what is already there.

Although tollgates are still in use and so named – New Jersey toll trucks are a particularly well-known instrument – the use of spear as shorthand for revolving car may only be familiar to those who live in the vicinity of one. In Massachusetts, for example, the highways that form the backbone of the state are known locally as high volume. (Go to Sox.)

Confusion with Down the Pipe

Unfamiliar use of spear may partly explain why we sometimes see the phrase displayed as down the pipespecifically in the sense that it refers to predicted future events:

As part of this, The Times’ Deborah Vankin takes a look at what’s to come down the pipe at downtown LA’s newest arts institution, the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art. — Carolina A. Miranda, Los Angeles TimesSeptember 8, 2017

Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade came out in April 2016 and since then, the singer has been slowly sharing several clips on YouTube; but it looks like she’s about to have some new video material down the pipe. —Erica Gonzales, Harper’s MarketSeptember 6, 2017

This phrase also suggests a conjunction with a similar word, in the pipe, used for projects or anything in a state of development, preparation, or production. Ducts and conduits, with their ability to carry a constant flow, suggest a streaming source, that’s why we talk about music being “guided” into a store or “stream” The prospect of a baseball team comes from the minor leagues.

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But down the pipe also found usage closely similar to the original meaning of down pikeEmphasize what’s to come rather than what’s being developed or planned:

U.S. Representative Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, says the repeal bill is “the worst piece of legislation that has ever happened.” down the pipe not yet.” He said Congress would want to reauthorize hospital care and PeachCare programs for the poor. su on that matter. — Ariel Hart and Tamar Hallerman, Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionSeptember 22, 2017

Every time we ask what we train for, they don’t say or say: “We don’t know”. It has finally arrived down the pipe that we are training with the US military. We think it’s okay. — Alan Blunt, legion magazineFebruary 18, 2016

down the pipe seems to be sticking around, so don’t be surprised if you find it confused with down pike Future. But as with all uses to come, if you choose to use it, brace yourself pipeline upward.

Categories: Usage Notes

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