si·​phon | \ ˈsī-fən \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of siphon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a tube bent to form two legs of unequal length by which a liquid can be transferred to a lower level over an intermediate elevation by the pressure of the atmosphere in forcing the liquid up the shorter branch of the tube immersed in it while the excess of weight of the liquid in the longer branch when once filled causes a continuous flow
b usually syphon : a bottle for holding aerated water that is driven out through a bent tube in its neck by the pressure of the gas when a valve in the tube is opened
2 : any of various tubular organs in animals and especially mollusks or arthropods that are used for drawing in or ejecting fluids


variants: or less commonly syphon
siphoned also syphoned; siphoning also syphoning\ ˈsī-​fə-​niŋ , ˈsīf-​niŋ \

Definition of siphon (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to convey, draw off, or empty by or as if by a siphon often used with off

intransitive verb

: to pass by or as if by a siphon

Illustration of siphon

Illustration of siphon


siphon 1a

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms & Antonyms for siphon

Synonyms: Verb

bleed, draft, drain, draw (off), pump, tap

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of siphon in a Sentence


The water needs to be siphoned from the pool. She illegally siphoned money out of other people's bank accounts. Funds were siphoned from the schools to build a new stadium. The large chain stores are siphoning profits from the small local stores.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The squid can also use the siphon to propel its way through water backward. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Monterey Bay Aquarium takes Apple to task for its backward squid emoji," 5 Dec. 2018 Choose from pour over, Chemex, Clever, siphon,drip, woodneck, French press, or espresso. Catherine Strawn, Country Living, "Is Columbus, Ohio America's Next Great Coffee City?," 1 Oct. 2014 Goldman’s former chairman of Southeast Asia, pleaded guilty in August to conspiring to launder money and violate foreign antibribery laws for helping siphon billions of dollars from the bond deals, according to filings made public last week. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "Goldman Sachs’s Ex-CEO Lloyd Blankfein Met Malaysian at Center of 1MDB Scandal," 9 Nov. 2018 Kaylee Bryant as Josie Saltzman The other half of the siphon Saltzman sisters is Josie. Sydney Bucksbaum, Teen Vogue, "Meet the "Legacies" Cast and the Characters They Play in the Latest Supernatural Drama from "The Vampire Diaries" Universe," 24 Oct. 2018 So the good news is that washing your face with seltzer doesn't call for spraying yourself in the face with one of those high-powered soda siphons. Marci Robin, Allure, "People Are Washing Their Faces With Seltzer, And It's Not as Silly as You Might Think," 29 Sep. 2018 Very few people are prosecuted for corruption even though authorities say that graft siphons off up to a third of the government's budget, or nearly $6 billion a year. Tom Odula, Fox News, "Kenya president urges citizens to arrest the corrupt," 12 Aug. 2018 Snails that had been shocked before retreated their siphons for longer than new snails. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Just Transferred Memories From One Creature to Another," 19 May 2018 The site is adjacent to a shaft containing multiple pipes used to lift sewage up to the plant from harbor siphons. Don Behm, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Untreated sewage leaks from Jones Island into Kinnickinnic River and Milwaukee harbor," 12 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Billions of dollars were siphoned from the fund and spread around the world on real estate, art, a superyacht and other assets. Samuel Rubenfeld, WSJ, "Malaysia’s Securities Commission Fines Deloitte Over Breaches Tied to 1MDB," 31 Jan. 2019 Christopher Kydes also liquidated the woman’s retirement account and siphoned her money into their personal business accounts, bank records showed. Erika Pesantes,, "Couple exploited at least 50 seniors in home health care scam, officials say," 21 June 2018 The aid money and attention was siphoned off by other international crises and, more recently, to the plight of the mostly Muslim Rohingya. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Burma's Karen refugees face dwindling aid, struggle with depression and suicides," 15 Aug. 2018 Some of its current solar capacity also has been siphoned off by high-profile efforts such as helping Puerto Rico switch to solar power in the wake of last year's hurricane. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Burning for Tesla Powerwall? Get ready to wait as Musk's solar vision takes a backseat to Model 3," 13 July 2018 The United States’ Department of Justice alleged that at least $4.5 billion has gone missing from the state fund, and has been siphoned off to Najib’s family and associates. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, "Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak arrested over corruption probe," 3 July 2018 As social media platforms continue to stage increasingly tangled culture wars, and personal data is siphoned up at every possible turn to feed advertising networks, Berners-Lee is rightfully dismayed that the Web is in poor health. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Tim Berners-Lee Wants a 'Magna Carta' to Save the Modern Internet. He's Way Too Late.," 8 Nov. 2018 Educators worry that hardening will siphon focus and money from programs that prevent bullying and counsel at-risk kids. Justin Pritchard, The Seattle Times, "Firms sell mass-shooting solutions, but can gadgets and hardware save lives?," 2 Oct. 2018 Many Democrats fear that Orman could siphon votes from their nominee, state Sen. Laura Kelly, of Topeka, helping the Republican, conservative Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "What happened to coal," 21 Aug. 2018

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


1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1859, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for siphon


French siphon, from Latin siphon-, sipho tube, pipe, siphon, from Greek siphōn

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Statistics for siphon

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for siphon

The first known use of siphon was in 1659

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More Definitions for siphon



English Language Learners Definition of siphon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a bent tube used to move a liquid from one container into another container by means of air pressure



English Language Learners Definition of siphon (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move (a liquid) from one container to another by using a siphon
: to take and use (something, such as money) for your own purpose


si·​phon | \ ˈsī-fən\

Kids Definition of siphon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a bent pipe or tube through which a liquid can be drawn by air pressure up and over the edge of a container
2 : a tubelike part especially of a mollusk (as a clam) usually used to draw in or squirt out water


siphoned; siphoning

Kids Definition of siphon (Entry 2 of 2)

: to draw off by or as if by a siphon

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More from Merriam-Webster on siphon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with siphon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for siphon

Spanish Central: Translation of siphon

Nglish: Translation of siphon for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about siphon

Comments on siphon

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


to deny responsibility for

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