cyl·​in·​der | \ ˈsi-lən-dər \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cylinder

cylindered \ ˈsi-​lən-​dərd \ adjective

Examples of cylinder in a Sentence

the cylinder of a revolver

Recent Examples on the Web

The default engine configuration is the aforementioned 1.5L DOHC 16-valve, four-cylinder turbo capable of 170hp (127kW) and 203lb-ft (275Nm) of torque. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Review: GMC Terrain gives you the ride you want—at a price," 23 Dec. 2018 Power flows through it from a 125 hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder, which doesn’t sound impressive, but since the Kicks is by far the lightest vehicle in its class, is more than adequate. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "2018 Nissan Kicks Test Drive: It shouldn't be good, but it is," 28 Sep. 2018 What this means to you: Anderson's departure adds some uncertainty to AMD’s future, after a year or two in which the company was firing on all cylinders. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "AMD loses another key executive, Jim Anderson, as it shifts manufacturing to TSMC," 27 Aug. 2018 It is built on the same underpinnings as the Chevrolet Malibu sedan, with a Cadillac 2.0L Turbo four-cylinder, 237-horsepower engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Hannah Elliott,, "Cadillac’s New XT4 Chases Small SUV Stars From Audi, BMW, Porsche," 27 Mar. 2018 The 72-by-29-inch Ultra Long folds or rolls into a 14-inch-long cylinder. Judi Dash,, "This gear makes your world go round, flat, darker and spacier," 2 July 2018 Before the final touchdown scheduled for April-May, Hayabusa2 will send out a squat cylinder that will detonate above the asteroid, shooting a 2-kilogram (4.4-pound) copper projectile into it at high speed to make a crater. Washington Post, "Japan space explorer arrives at asteroid to collect samples," 26 June 2018 The 72-by-29-inch and 2mm-thick Travel Yoga Mat Long is made of biodegradable tree rubber and rolls into a 14-inch-long cylinder, weighing 3.6 pounds. Judi Dash,, "Gadget Guru: YOGO Travel Yoga and Exercise Mats," 18 May 2018 Further Reading Up close and personal with Scuderia Corsa’s Ferrari 488 GT3 race car Like their road cousins, they sport engine configurations from V10s, V8s, and V6s to horizontally opposed six-cylinders. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Open mind, wide open throttle: We go to our first NASCAR race," 15 Nov. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cylinder

Statistics for cylinder

Last Updated

3 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cylinder

The first known use of cylinder was in 1570

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cylinder


cyl·​in·​der | \ ˈsi-lən-dər \

Kids Definition of cylinder

: a long round body whether hollow or solid

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up cylinder? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


involving abstract or general statements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!