American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A solid cylinder or disk that fits snugly into a larger cylinder and moves under fluid pressure, as in a reciprocating engine, or displaces or compresses fluids, as in pumps and compressors.
- n. Music A valve mechanism in brass instruments for altering the pitch.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In machinery, a movable piece, generally of a cylindrical form, so fitted as to fill the sectional area of a tube, such as the barrel of a pump or the cylinder of a steam-engine, and capable of being driven alternately in two directions by pressure on one or the other of its sides. One of its sides is fitted to a rod, called the piston-rod, to which it imparts reciprocatory motion, as in the steam-engine, where the motion given to the piston-rod is communicated to the machinery, or by which, on the other hand, it is itself made to move, as in the pump. Two sorts of pistons are used in pumps —one hollow with a valve, used in the suction-pump, and the other solid, which is employed in the force-pump. The latter is also called a plunger.
- n. In musical wind-instruments of the trumpet family, one of the forms of valve whereby a crook is temporarily added to the tube and the pitch of the tones altered. It is operated by depressing a finger-knob, and thus pushing a plunger into a cylinder. The plunger has channels for changing the direction of the air-column. Pistons have been applied to various instruments, but especially to the cornet, which is therefore called the cornet-à-pistons.
- n. In organ-building, a thumb-knob which may be pushed in like a piston, whereby some change in registration is pneumatically effected; a pneumatic coupler or combination knob.
- n. The central retractile part of the acetabulum or sucker of a cephalopod, whose action in producing a vacuum resembles that of the piston of an air-pump.
- n. A solid disk or cylinder that fits inside a hollow cylinder, and moves under pressure (as in an engine) or displaces fluid (as in a pump)
- n. music A valve device in some brass instruments for changing the pitch
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Mach.) A sliding piece which either is moved by, or moves against, fluid pressure. It usually consists of a short cylinder fitting within a cylindrical vessel along which it moves, back and forth. It is used in steam engines to receive motion from the steam, and in pumps to transmit motion to a fluid; also for other purposes.
- n. United States neoclassical composer (1894-1976)
- n. mechanical device that has a plunging or thrusting motion
- From French piston. (Wiktionary)
- French, from Italian pistone, pestone, large pestle, from pestare, to pound, crush, from Late Latin pistāre, frequentative of Latin pīnsere, pīnsāre. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“But Black has size on his side and keeps forcing him against the ropes, getting in short piston blows into his ribs, which seem to move with a life of their own after the first blow.”
“(enquiry) bears upon the face of it the stopping (istanai) of the stream; and the word piston (faithful) certainly indicates cessation of motion; then, again, mneme (memory), as any one may see, expresses rest in the soul, and not motion.”
“The type IV secretory system is an elaboration of the type II, except now the piston is a long filament, and that filament can stick to surfaces.”
“One part of the piston is a centrifugal piston which functions as a striking piston, whereas the other part is used for the transmission of drilling rods and compression air in order to blow clean the drilling hole.”
“As, however, the piston is the only movable part, the force of the steam is directed to that part, and the motion is then transmitted to the crank, and to the shaft of the engine.”
“The piston is a single casting unusually long and light, and is packed with four spring rings of 3/8 inch square brass wire.”
“That style of machine for moulding candles in which the candles are forced out at the top by means of a piston is the one most employed, and it is an apparatus of this kind that we illustrate herewith.”
“The piston, which is very long, rubs at its upper end against the sides of the cylinder, C.”
“Johnson's right upper-cut is described as the piston of an ocean greyhound making twenty-seven knots," said the man, taking no notice of the answer, and speaking in awestruck tones.”
“There is a sort of stem coming up from the middle of the piston, called the piston rod, which is to draw up the piston, and to press it down by.”
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