hy·​drau·​lic | \ hī-ˈdrȯ-lik \

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

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Other Words from hydraulic

hydraulically \ hī-​ˈdrȯ-​li-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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

In truth, his narrative is centered on the Indian subcontinent, despite its insightful forays into China’s hydraulic history. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "‘Unruly Waters’ and ‘Ganges’ Review: In India, Water Is Politics," 4 Jan. 2019 But hydraulic fracturing contributes another, often overlooked benefit: cleaner air. WSJ, "Fracking’s Major Contribution to Cleaner Air," 4 Dec. 2018 While early versions of disk brakes worked with the traditional cables, hydraulic systems do a better job of ensuring that the force imparted to the pads is distributed evenly. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "How bicycles have changed in the last 25 years," 10 Nov. 2018 Most homes have window blinds, but very few have shades that are controlled by a hydraulic system. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "This apartment building’s facade blooms like a flower," 23 Aug. 2018 Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea. Loren Grush, The Verge, "For the first time ever, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fails to stick a ground landing," 5 Dec. 2018 Hickenlooper is considering holding a special legislative session if voters pass the setback measure for hydraulic fracturing. Umair Irfan, Vox, "A major anti-fracking ballot measure in Colorado has failed," 7 Nov. 2018 Advances in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — a way of recovering oil and gas from tight rock called shale — created a glut. Jie Jenny Zou Of The Center For Public Integrity, The Seattle Times, "How DC unleashed fossil-fuel exports despite climate worries," 16 Oct. 2018 Of course, the shale oil surge wouldn't have happened without the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques used to triggered the shale gas revolution. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Study: U.S. natural gas production to surge 60% in 20 years," 20 June 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.

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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

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Statistics for hydraulic

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hydraulic

The first known use of hydraulic was in 1661

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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 \

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

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