from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A device consisting of a piston that moves within a cylinder containing oil, used to dampen and control motion.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A cylinder containing a loosely fitted piston, and partly filled with fluid, designed to check sudden movements in a piece of mechanism to which it is attached.
  • noun A device sometimes used for controlling the motion of an arc-lamp, and in other electrical instruments.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Mach.) a mechanical damping device containing a piston that moves in a fluid-filled chamber to serve as a pneumatic or hydraulic cushion for a falling weight, as in the valve gear of a steam engine, to prevent shock.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A mechanical damping device consisting of a piston that moves through a viscous fluid (usually oil); used, in conjunction with a spring, in shock absorbers

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a mechanical damper; the vibrating part is attached to a piston that moves in a chamber filled with liquid


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • A device that cushions, dampens, or reverses the motion of a piece of machinery. It consists of a cylinder in which a piston operates to create pressure or a vacuum on an enclosed gas, or it forces a fluid in or out of the chamber through narrow openings.

    November 6, 2007