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 While energy production has risen under Trump, the hydraulic fracking boom that has propelled the U.S. to its current heights began under previous administrations — and some of the top rankings were hit years ago. USA TODAY, "State of the Union: President Trump stretched and distorted facts about economy, jobs," 5 Feb. 2020 Another fire engine arrived and successfully freed the woman's other hand by using a hydraulic spreader. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "A woman used her toes to call 911 after her hands and fingers were crushed while changing tire," 3 Feb. 2020 The advent of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has unleashed a wave of cheap natural gas, prompting power companies to switch out their old, dirty coal units in favor of cleaner natural gas-burning replacements. Benjamin Storrow, Scientific American, "Plastics Plants Are Poised to Be the Next Big Carbon Superpolluters," 24 Jan. 2020 The country is already the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, thanks to the adoption of a controversial process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the agency’s data show. BostonGlobe.com, "What’s next for the stock market? Here’s what you need to know," 12 Jan. 2020 The shale boom, spurred by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques, has transformed the U.S. energy industry and flooded the market with oil and natural gas in recent years. Sarah Toy, WSJ, "Natural-Gas Prices Fall Below $2," 21 Jan. 2020 The Gore-Tex liners are cut by a hydraulic cutter, and then workers stitch the one-piece liner together by hand and cover the seam with tape, ensuring waterproofing. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Everything That Goes Into Making a Danner Boot," 20 Jan. 2020 On the other hand, a hydraulic problem would not necessarily require an immediate landing, giving the pilots time to burn or dump fuel. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: Why do planes have to dump fuel before making emergency landings?," 17 Jan. 2020 It is set on hydraulic stilts, allowing operators to lift it up out of accumulating snow drifts. John Gendall, New York Times, "The Coolest Architecture on Earth Is in Antarctica," 6 Jan. 2020

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

Time Traveler for hydraulic

Time Traveler

The first known use of hydraulic was in 1661

See more words from the same year

Statistics for hydraulic

Last Updated

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hydraulic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hydraulic. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hydraulic


How to pronounce hydraulic (audio)

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!