hy·​drau·​lic | \ hī-ˈdrȯ-lik How to pronounce hydraulic (audio) \

Definition of hydraulic

1 : operated, moved, or effected by means of water
2a : of or relating to hydraulics hydraulic engineer
b : of or relating to water or other liquid in motion hydraulic erosion
3 : operated by the resistance offered or the pressure transmitted when a quantity of liquid (such as water or oil) is forced through a comparatively small orifice or through a tube hydraulic brakes
4 : hardening or setting under water hydraulic cement

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from hydraulic

hydraulically \ hī-​ˈdrȯ-​li-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce hydraulically (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

By means of a hydraulic lift, the driver can lift the bed of a dump truck with the touch of a button. He might also repair the hydraulic steering, the hydraulic brake, or the hydraulic clutch—all of which, like the lift that holds everything up, take advantage of the way liquids act under pressure. Somewhat like a pulley or a lever, a hydraulic system magnifies the effect of moderate pressure exerted over a longer distance into powerful energy for a shorter distance.

Examples of hydraulic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

And there is also a lot of hydraulic pavement, typical of Catalonia. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "A Mecca of Spanish Design and Food Opens in New York," 3 Apr. 2019 The APUs used toxic hydrazine to generate the hydraulic power needed to move the shuttle's elevons the muscle needed for braking and steering. William Harwood, CBS News, "John Young, legendary moonwalker and shuttle commander, dead at 87," 6 Jan. 2018 The Mexican entrance was covered by a pool table that lifted from the concrete floor with a hydraulic system. Nicole Hong, WSJ, "What El Chapo’s Trial Revealed: The Inner Workings of a $14 Billion Drug Empire," 12 Feb. 2019 That same year legislators in Albany passed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, the process used to wring oil and gas out of underground rock formations. Robert Bryce, WSJ, "Gas Shortages Give New York an Early Taste of the Green New Deal," 15 Feb. 2019 In some parts of the world they are called hydraulic tiles. Megan Beauchamp, House Beautiful, "Alert: Encaustic Tile is Making a Major Comeback," 12 Feb. 2019 When the team made it to the Super Bowl, cops switched to hydraulic fluid. Jillian Kay Melchior, WSJ, "Antifa Appropriates a Creepy Mascot," 7 Oct. 2018 The basin’s weakened status reflects the success of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses a mixture of sand, water and chemicals to fracture underground rock formations and release the oil and gas trapped inside. Micah Maidenberg, WSJ, "Miners Cut Back in Largest U.S. Coal Region," 31 Dec. 2018 The machine’s hydraulic bucket bit into Cullen’s left leg and tore it from knee to ankle, ripping off his tissue as easily as someone slipping off a glove. Jack Healy, New York Times, "5-Year-Olds Work Farm Machinery, and Injuries Follow," 29 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hydraulic.' 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 hydraulic

1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hydraulic

Latin hydraulicus, from Greek hydraulikos, from hydraulis hydraulic organ, from hydr- + aulos reed instrument — more at alveolus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hydraulic

Statistics for hydraulic

Last Updated

21 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hydraulic

The first known use of hydraulic was in 1661

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hydraulic



English Language Learners Definition of hydraulic

: operated by the pressure of a fluid
: occurring or used in a hydraulic system


hy·​drau·​lic | \ hī-ˈdrȯ-lik How to pronounce hydraulic (audio) \

Kids Definition of hydraulic

1 : operated, moved, or brought about by means of water hydraulic pressure
2 : operated by liquid forced through a small hole or through a tube hydraulic brakes

Other Words from hydraulic

hydraulically \ -​li-​kə-​lē \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on hydraulic

Spanish Central: Translation of hydraulic

Nglish: Translation of hydraulic for Spanish Speakers

Comments on hydraulic

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


a secret plot to overthrow a government

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!