cyl·​in·​der | \ ˈsi-lən-dər How to pronounce cylinder (audio) \

Definition of cylinder

1a : the surface traced by a straight line moving parallel to a fixed straight line and intersecting a fixed planar closed curve
b : a solid or surface bounded by a cylinder and two parallel planes cutting all its elements especially : right circular cylinder — see Volume Formulas Table
2 : a cylindrical body or space: such as
a : the turning chambered breech of a revolver
b(1) : the piston chamber in an engine
(2) : a chamber in a pump from which the piston expels the fluid
c : any of various rotating members in a press (such as a printing press) especially : one that impresses paper on an inked form
d : a cylindrical clay object inscribed with cuneiform inscriptions
on all cylinders
: with maximum effort or intensity : at full capacity or speed the economy is running on all cylinders

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Other Words from cylinder

cylindered \ ˈsi-​lən-​dərd How to pronounce cylindered (audio) \ adjective

Examples of cylinder in a Sentence

the cylinder of a revolver
Recent Examples on the Web Roll dough into 2-in. cylinder and wrap in plastic wrap. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Nutty Shortbread Cookies Recipe," 15 Nov. 2019 The retail operation provides industrial customers direct access to purchase, rent and service tools like cylinders and jacks, pumps and bolting and machine tools. From News Reports, Houston Chronicle, "Drone maker plans office in Deer Park," 22 Oct. 2019 Prepping Most phyllo sold at the supermarket is frozen in 18-by-13 sheets that are rolled up into a cylinder and packaged in a thin, long box. Becky Krystal, The Denver Post, "Take a more layered approach by adding phyllo dough to your kitchen staples," 27 Sep. 2019 Scosche’s new PowerUp 700 can jump-start car, truck, and boat engines up to 10 cylinders, and also charge your smartphone, tablet, or other devices through its two USB ports., "Make noise for political change," 25 Sep. 2019 Silver cylinders and pouches of teas are placed throughout on a variety of shelves and earthy furniture pieces. Joel Cintron,, "This 30-year-old is creating handcrafted, all-natural tea blends out of her Hartford shop, Ritual Earth Tea," 20 Sep. 2019 Since the days of wax cylinders and piano rolls, music was monetized by selling something [physical], and that’s no longer true. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Revealed: Billboard's 2019 Top Music Lawyers Led by BTS Counsel Debbie White of Loeb & Loeb," 26 Aug. 2019 The lineup, meanwhile, is firing on all cylinders and contributing timely hits to start late rallies. Jon Tayler,, "Who's Going to Win the Chaotic NL Wild-Card Race?," 12 Aug. 2019 Westcott designed a cylinder and piston with an explosive charge at one end of the piston and a machined blade at the other., "He was there when it really was a moon shot, and he had to get them home safely: Steve Duin," 15 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cylinder.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cylinder

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for cylinder

Middle French or Latin; Middle French cylindre, from Latin cylindrus, from Greek kylindros, from kylindein to roll; perhaps akin to Greek kyklos wheel — more at wheel

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Time Traveler for cylinder

Time Traveler

The first known use of cylinder was in 1570

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Statistics for cylinder

Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cylinder.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for cylinder


How to pronounce cylinder (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cylinder

: a shape that has straight sides and two circular ends
: a tube in which a piston of an engine moves
: the part of a gun that turns and that holds the bullets


cyl·​in·​der | \ ˈsi-lən-dər How to pronounce cylinder (audio) \

Kids Definition of cylinder

: a long round body whether hollow or solid

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More from Merriam-Webster on cylinder

Spanish Central: Translation of cylinder

Nglish: Translation of cylinder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cylinder for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cylinder

Comments on cylinder

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