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

Keep scrolling for more

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 The Seltos will offer a pair of four-cylinder engines: a base 146-horsepower 2.0L and 176-hp 1.6L turbo. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Kia hopes for a bargain-price hit with Telluride-looking Seltos small SUV," 20 Nov. 2019 The turbocharged four-cylinder engine is the most powerful that has ever been used in a Mini. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "This will be the fastest Mini Cooper on the road," 20 Nov. 2019 But Wisconsin appeared to be clicking on all cylinders. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Badgers capitalized on their elite running game by supplementing it with superb play-action production," 5 Oct. 2019 AMD’s Computing and Graphics segment is firing on all cylinders, with revenue up 36 percent year over year to $1.28 billion. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "AMD reports its highest revenue in 14 years, projects strong Q4 on Ryzen sales," 29 Oct. 2019 Although JPMorgan is firing on all cylinders, rival Goldman Sachs (GS) reported disappointing investment banking revenue. Matt Egan, CNN, "Dow pops 250 points on blockbuster earnings," 15 Oct. 2019 Mission Hills 42, Torrey Pines 14 SAN MARCOS — With its offense firing on all cylinders Friday night in San Marcos, Mission Hills won its third straight, a 42-14 trouncing of Torrey Pines. Scott Walsh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Grizzlies thump usually sturdy Falcons," 11 Oct. 2019 Cole believes his team is not that far away from clicking on all cylinders. Pomerado News, "Bye week gives Nighthawks chance to regroup," 25 Sep. 2019 In 2009, Lexus wanted more power from the ES350's six-cylinder engine. Ray Magliozzi,, "Car Talk: Put your Tesla to the test," 9 Sep. 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.

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

Time Traveler for cylinder

Time Traveler

The first known use of cylinder was in 1570

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cylinder

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Cylinder.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


contradictory or incongruous words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!