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

  • noun A tube that carries a liquid from a higher level up and over a barrier and then down to a lower level, with the flow maintained by gravity and atmospheric pressure as long as the tube remains filled.
  • noun Zoology A tubular organ, especially of aquatic invertebrates such as squids or clams, by which water is taken in or expelled.
  • intransitive verb To draw off or convey (a liquid) through a siphon.
  • intransitive verb To take or transfer (something), often illicitly.
  • intransitive verb To pass through a siphon.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To convey, as water, by means of a siphon; transmit or remove by a siphon.
  • To pass or be conducted through a siphon.
  • noun A tubular anal organ of the aquatic bugs of the family Nepidæ, probably respiratory in function.
  • noun In siphonophorans, a feeding zoöid or hydranth.
  • noun A bent pipe or tube with legs of unequal length, used for drawing liquid out of a vessel by causing it to rise in the tube over the rim or top.
  • noun In zoology, a canal or conduit, without reference to size, shape, or function; generally, a tube or tubular organ through which water or other fluid passes; a siphuncle.
  • noun [capitalized] [NL.] In conchology, a genus of gastropods. Also Sipho (Klein, 1753; Fabricius, 1822) and Sypho (Brown, 1827).
  • noun In botany, one of the small peculiar cells surrounding the large elongated central cell in the frond of certain florideous algae. See monosiphonous, polysiphonous, Polysiphonia, pericentral.
  • noun A siphon-bottle.

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

  • transitive verb (Chem.) To convey, or draw off, by means of a siphon, as a liquid from one vessel to another at a lower level.
  • noun A device, consisting of a pipe or tube bent so as to form two branches or legs of unequal length, by which a liquid can be transferred to a lower level, as from one vessel to another, over an intermediate elevation, by the action of the pressure of the atmosphere in forcing the liquid up the shorter branch of the pipe immersed in it, while the continued excess of weight of the liquid in the longer branch (when once filled) causes a continuous flow. The flow takes place only when the discharging extremity of the pipe ia lower than the higher liquid surface, and when no part of the pipe is higher above the surface than the same liquid will rise by atmospheric pressure; that is, about 33 feet for water, and 30 inches for mercury, near the sea level.
  • noun One of the tubes or folds of the mantle border of a bivalve or gastropod mollusk by which water is conducted into the gill cavity. See Illust. under Mya, and Lamellibranchiata.
  • noun The anterior prolongation of the margin of any gastropod shell for the protection of the soft siphon.
  • noun The tubular organ through which water is ejected from the gill cavity of a cephaloid. It serves as a locomotive organ, by guiding and confining the jet of water. Called also siphuncle. See Illust. under Loligo, and Dibranchiata.
  • noun The siphuncle of a cephalopod shell.
  • noun The sucking proboscis of certain parasitic insects and crustaceans.
  • noun A sproutlike prolongation in front of the mouth of many gephyreans.
  • noun A tubular organ connected both with the esophagus and the intestine of certain sea urchins and annelids.
  • noun A siphon bottle.
  • noun a tube bent like a siphon, but having the branches turned upward; specifically (Hydraulic Engineering), a pipe for conducting water beneath a depressed place, as from one hill to another across an intervening valley, following the depression of the ground.
  • noun See under Barometer.
  • noun a bottle for holding aërated water, which is driven out through a bent tube in the neck by the gas within the bottle when a valve in the tube is opened; -- called also gazogene, and siphoid.
  • noun a condenser for a steam engine, in which the vacuum is maintained by the downward flow of water through a vertical pipe of great height.
  • noun a cup with a siphon attached for carrying off any liquid in it; specifically (Mach.), an oil cup in which oil is carried over the edge of a tube in a cotton wick, and so reaches the surface to be lubricated.
  • noun See under Gauge.
  • noun a jet pump. See under Jet, n.

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

  • noun A bent pipe or tube with one end lower than the other, in which hydrostatic pressure exerted due to the force of gravity moves liquid from one reservoir to another.
  • noun a soda siphon
  • noun biology a tubelike organ found in animals or elongated cell found in plants.
  • verb transitive to transfer (liquid) by means of a siphon.

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

  • verb move a liquid from one container into another by means of a siphon or a siphoning action
  • noun a tube running from the liquid in a vessel to a lower level outside the vessel so that atmospheric pressure forces the liquid through the tube
  • verb convey, draw off, or empty by or as if by a siphon
  • noun a tubular organ in an aquatic animal (especially in mollusks) through which water can be taken in or expelled


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Latin sīphō, sīphōn-, from Greek sīphōn.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek σίφων (siphōn, "pipe, tube")



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  • "In siphonophorans, a feeding zoöid or hydranth." --CD&C

    February 2, 2012

  • Not atmospheric pressure ... gravity! See here:

    April 24, 2014

  • It's not the job of a dictionary to get physics right, but rather how the word is used.

    I think he just recreated a siphon experiment from 1672. (google books link)

    c. 1672 Philosohical Transactions, The Royal Society.
    John Martyn

    "..And this he takes for a further confirmation of his supposition of a pressing matter more subtile than the Air. To which he adds, that, if you take the pains of searching, to what degree the force of this pressure reacheth, (which he saith cannot be better made than by pursuing the Experiment with Tubes full of Mercury yet longer than those employ d by M Boyle,) it will perhaps be found that this force is great enough to cause the Union of the parts of Glass and of other sorts of bodies, which hold too well together as not to be conjoyned but by their contiguity, and rest, as M DesCartes would have it."

    April 24, 2014