pis·​ton | \ ˈpi-stən How to pronounce piston (audio) \

Definition of piston

1 : a sliding piece moved by or moving against fluid pressure which usually consists of a short cylindrical body fitting within a cylindrical chamber or vessel along which it moves back and forth
2 : a sliding valve moving in a cylinder in a brass instrument which when depressed by a finger knob serves to lower the instrument's pitch

Examples of piston in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Placing the thick rubber hose on the arms of the piston like a sleeve prevents the doors from opening. Erik S. Hanley, Journal Sentinel, 4 Aug. 2022 The team created a pitching machine that looks like a massive nail gun, featuring a four-foot-long piston to drive the ball and accelerate it to speeds of up to 400 miles per hour. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 12 Apr. 2022 The average piston-engine aircraft in the US is around 50 years old; very few are retired each year. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, 16 June 2022 The car is also fitted with six-piston Brembo brakes that provide stopping power and adaptive air suspension for a smoother ride. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 11 May 2022 Dual piston hydraulic disc brakes stop on a dime, even downhill. Lauren Mowery, Forbes, 1 June 2022 That relatively reasonable price tag buys you Shimano’s Deore 12-speed drivetrain, two-piston Deore brakes, and a Fox 34 Performance Elite fork, none of which needs an upgrade out of the box. Outside Online, 27 May 2022 With Turbo-sized carbon-ceramic brake rotors (16.5 inches in front, 16.1 inches in the rear) squeezed by 10-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, velocity disappears faster than a fish slipping through your fingers. Derek Powell, Car and Driver, 21 Apr. 2022 The colossal rotors, clamped by six-piston calipers in the nose, absorb significantly more heat and are 89 pounds lighter than their steel equivalents. Michael Harley, Robb Report, 4 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'piston.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of piston

1704, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for piston

French, from Italian pistone, from pistare to pound, from Old Italian, from Medieval Latin, from Latin pistus, past participle of pinsere to crush — more at pestle

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Piston.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/piston. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for piston


pis·​ton | \ ˈpi-stən How to pronounce piston (audio) \

Kids Definition of piston

: a disk or short cylinder that slides back and forth inside a larger cylinder and is moved by steam in steam engines and by the explosion of fuel in automobiles

Piston biographical name

Pis·​ton | \ ˈpi-stən How to pronounce Piston (audio) \

Definition of Piston

Walter Hamor 1894–1976 American composer

More from Merriam-Webster on piston

Nglish: Translation of piston for Spanish Speakers


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