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 cylinder (audio) \ adjective

Examples of cylinder in a Sentence

the cylinder of a revolver
Recent Examples on the Web Fold the mesh to create a freestanding cylinder, about three feet in diameter — the perfect support system. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "In April, home gardeners, native plants are putting on a show," 3 Apr. 2021 Canister options typically include a burner that sits on small disposable cylinder of fuel. Will Egensteiner, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Backpacking Stoves For Bringing Cooking Power to the Backcountry," 25 Mar. 2021 The syringe was made from a cylinder with a nozzle and piston for injecting or withdrawing fluids. Renee Morad, NBC News, "10 inventions that wouldn't exist if it weren't for these incredible women," 25 Mar. 2021 Alcohol and glass are normally prohibited on the International Space Station, so each bottle was packed inside a special steel cylinder during the journey. Masha Macpherson And Angela Charlton, Star Tribune, "Cosmic mouthful: Tasters savor fine wine that orbited Earth," 24 Mar. 2021 When that cylinder of hay reaches a preset size, the machine stops rolling and binds the bale with a net or a set of ties. Kiona N. Smith, Forbes, "This Is Why Hay Bales Are Round," 18 Mar. 2021 The Dreamweaver is a cylinder with a vent on the side. Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored, "The best white noise machines of 2021," 18 Mar. 2021 Curled in on itself, that wall forms a cylinder, providing rigidity to an otherwise flimsy material. Michael Snyder, New York Times, "Tiny Architect-Designed Houses to Build at Your Desk," 16 Mar. 2021 This monsoon, however, the family plans not to bother with refilling their cylinder. Aarefa Johari, Quartz, "Modi’s much-hyped cooking gas scheme for the poor has started failing on the ground," 9 Mar. 2021

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

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cylinder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for cylinder



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

Nglish: Translation of cylinder for Spanish Speakers

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

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