In the movie Dead Poets Society, there is a line by Robin Williams:"We are not laying pipe, we are talking about poetry." I have checked it up on Urban Dictionary and according to the top scoring post the phrase means "fucking the hell out of a girl". Obviously, this doesn't suit the context here. So what does the phrase really mean?

YouTube excerpt

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    Why wouldn't it mean what it means literally: installing a water/sewer pipe? – michael.hor257k Aug 20 '17 at 17:54
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    It means "laying pipe", as in underground pipe. – AmE speaker Aug 20 '17 at 18:11

It is the literal meaning. The teacher compares the 'geometrical' analysis of Pritchard, which he has called excrement, to something as equally mundane or technical or unexciting as laying pipe(lines). There's no room for the slang meaning here.

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    Yes. He may also be making a comparison between the diagram based on Pritchard's method to pipe schematics (which it somewhat resembles). – 1006a Aug 20 '17 at 18:45

This is what Keating said:

"Excrement. That's what I think of Mr. J. Evans Pritchard. We're not laying pipe. We're talking about poetry."

Excerpt was found here: https://www.google.com/amp/s/genius.com/amp/Tom-schulman-dead-poets-society-understanding-poetry-scene-annotated

It refers neither to an easy job nor a sexual act. He used "laying pipe" as the rhetorical device to mean what he said about Prithcard's work and how garbage (excremental) it was. One needs to stick out one's male organ to discharge (excrete) waste and that's what was meant by "laying pipe".

And "laying pipe" here is far from being described as an easy job. The graph drawn by Keating was as complex as one can imagine. He put the whole first paragraph of Pritchard's book into a diagram and meant that it was garbage. Then he told his students to rip the page and toss it into a garbage can.

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