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The literal meaning of Coolant Pump is a type of pump used to recirculate a coolant, generally a liquid that is used to transfer heat away from an engine or other device that generates heat as a byproduct of producing energy.
Radiators first used downward vertical flow, driven solely by a thermosyphon effect. Coolant is heated in the engine, becomes less dense, and so rises. As the radiator cools the fluid, the coolant becomes denser and falls. This effect is sufficient for low-power stationary engines, but inadequate for all but the earliest automobiles. All automobiles for many years have used centrifugal pumps to circulate the engine coolant because natural circulation has very low flow rates.
In other words, the coolant pump is a simple centrifugal pump driven by a belt connected to the crankshaft of the engine. The pump circulates fluid whenever the engine is running.
However, it uses centrifugal force to send fluid to the outside while it spins, causing fluid to be drawn from the center continuously. The inlet to the pump is located near the center so that fluid returning from the radiator hits the pump vanes. The pump vanes fling the fluid to the outside of the pump, where it can enter the engine.
The fluid leaving the pump flows first through the engine block and cylinder head, then into the radiator and finally back to the pump.