si·​phon | \ ˈsī-fən How to pronounce siphon (audio) \
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 How to pronounce syphoning (audio) , 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

The former chief executive is also seeking to be shielded from potential lawsuits over previous asset sales and spinoffs that creditors allege siphoned away value, the people said. Soma Biswas, WSJ, "Sears to Stay Open After Edward Lampert Prevails in Bankruptcy Auction," 16 Jan. 2019 Print newspapers, television, and radio had lost ground, and information got siphoned into glass-and-metal rectangles that require clear vision and deft motor control. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Alexa Is a Revelation for the Blind," 15 Apr. 2018 To do that, the firm commissioned an app that, when installed, siphoned information about its users as well as their friends - a practice that Facebook had allowed for years. Tony Romm,, "Congressional lawmakers ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify on Cambridge Analytica," 22 Mar. 2018 The university had warning signs that some of the research was fraudulent but didn’t act until discovering in 2013 that Potts-Kant had siphoned off money for spending on clothes and other items, the lawsuit said. Emery P. Dalesio, The Seattle Times, "Duke University pays $112M to settle faked-research lawsuit," 25 Mar. 2019 But these devices also pose a host of security risks that render users vulnerable to hacks, eavesdropping, data siphoning and other threats that might not be immediately apparent. Matthew Kassel, WSJ, "Alexa, Just How Secure Are You?," 25 May 2018 The deal highlights the improving ties between Netflix and the cable industry, which once were thought to be rivals as Netflix began siphoning off cable customers and producing its own original content. Washington Post,, "Now even Comcast wants to Netflix and chill," 13 Apr. 2018 Such a move would meet swift legal challenges, and GOP lawmakers have raised concerns over siphoning military-construction or disaster-aid funds to build the wall. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "Lawmakers Reach Agreement in Principle to Fund Border Security, Avoid Shutdown," 11 Feb. 2019 The grapes are crushed, usually in September, filtered, stirred, strained and stored in large metal or concrete tanks for various periods, then siphoned into oak barrels for aging and blending. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Trip to Bordeaux wine country is an educational experience," 13 July 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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The first known use of siphon was in 1659

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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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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 move or proceed with twists and turns

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