Definitions

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

  • noun Absence of matter.
  • noun A space empty of matter.
  • noun A space relatively empty of matter.
  • noun A space in which the pressure is significantly lower than atmospheric pressure.
  • noun A state of emptiness; a void.
  • noun A state of being sealed off from external or environmental influences; isolation.
  • noun A vacuum cleaner.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or used to create a vacuum.
  • adjective Containing air or other gas at a reduced pressure.
  • adjective Operating by means of suction or by maintaining a partial vacuum.
  • transitive & intransitive verb To clean with or use a vacuum cleaner.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Empty space; space void of matter: opposed to plenum; in practical use, an inclosed space from which the air (or other gas) has been very nearly removed, as by an air-pump.

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

  • noun (Physics) A space entirely devoid of matter (called also, by way of distinction, absolute vacuum); hence, in a more general sense, a space, as the interior of a closed vessel, which has been exhausted to a high or the highest degree by an air pump or other artificial means.
  • noun The condition of rarefaction, or reduction of pressure below that of the atmosphere, in a vessel, as the condenser of a steam engine, which is nearly exhausted of air or steam, etc..
  • noun a kind of continuous brake operated by exhausting the air from some appliance under each car, and so causing the pressure of the atmosphere to apply the brakes.
  • noun (Technol.) a kind of large closed metallic retort used in sugar making for boiling down sirup. It is so connected with an exhausting apparatus that a partial vacuum is formed within. This allows the evaporation and concentration to take place at a lower atmospheric pressure and hence also at a lower temperature, which largely obviates the danger of burning the sugar, and shortens the process.
  • noun Same as Pulsometer, 1.
  • noun (Phys.) any tube used in electronic devices, containing a vacuum and used to control the flow of electrons in a circuit, as a vacuum diode, triode, tetrode, or pentode.
  • noun a safety valve opening inward to admit air to a vessel in which the pressure is less than that of the atmosphere, in order to prevent collapse.
  • noun See under Torricellian.

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

  • noun A region of space that contains no matter.
  • noun A vacuum cleaner.
  • verb transitive To clean (something) with a vacuum cleaner.
  • verb intransitive To use a vacuum cleaner.

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

  • noun the absence of matter
  • verb clean with a vacuum cleaner
  • noun a region that is devoid of matter
  • noun an electrical home appliance that cleans by suction
  • noun an empty area or space

Etymologies

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

[Latin, empty space, from neuter of vacuus, empty, from vacāre, to be empty; see euə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin vacuum ("an empty space, void"), noun use of neuter of vacuus ("empty"), related to vacare ("be empty")

Examples

  • I bet there is some really elegant solution to mechanically actuating something in vacuum from a pressurized environment but I can't think of it immediately.

    Name Node 3 - NASA Watch

  • And, in truth, by the term vacuum in its common use, we do not mean

    The Selections from the Principles of Philosophy

  • Removing the bugs with a vacuum is the best way to go, says Michael Raupp, a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland.

    Stink bug: A home invader that lives up to its name

  • A. the speed of light in a vacuum is about 670,616,629.2 miles per hour or 983,571,056 feet per second, which is about 186,282.397 miles per second, or roughly one foot per nanosecond. the speed of sound?

    How Fast is….

  • Frustrated with what he calls a vacuum in leadership, he has turned to other mayors, an effort the National Rifle Association calls -- quote -- "a publicity stunt."

    CNN Transcript Apr 25, 2006

  • "So, then," objected Willis, "if two persons were to talk in what you call a vacuum, they would not hear each other?"

    Willis the Pilot

  • Thus it can be seen that Newton was of the opinion that heat consists in a minute vibratory motion of the particles of bodies, and that such motion was communicated through what he calls a vacuum by the vibrations of an elastic medium, the

    Aether and Gravitation

  • The natural agency for filling this vacuum is the League of Nations - (Hear, hear) - which is not purely a European concern belonging to certain states, but is an organization for filling the vacuum created by the disappearance of that old European system in which the autocracies were more powerful than the democracies.

    The International Situation and the Protocol

  • The mode by which we obtain what I term a vacuum is, it is believed, entirely new, as is also the method of letting the water into it, and throwing it off against the atmosphere without any friction.

    Great Fortunes and How They Were Made

  • The mode by which we obtain what I term a vacuum is, it is believed, entirely new, as is also the method of letting the water into it, and throwing it off against the atmosphere without any friction.

    Great Fortunes, and How They Were Made

Comments

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  • "Practically, the degree of exhaustion obtained falls short of that demanded by theory, owing to the imperfections of the machine; thus, in the common form, the exhaustion is limited to the point where the remaining air has not sufficient elasticity to raise the valves." -- from the Cent. Dict.

    August 4, 2011

  • Ahh fond memory... winning a bet over the correct spelling of this word.

    April 3, 2013