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

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of siphon in a Sentence

Verb 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 law, authored by Republican Rep. Drew Springer of Muenster, was seen by some as an attempt to help the Green Party siphon votes from Democrats. María Méndez, Dallas News, "Texas’ new ballot requirements have Libertarians and Greens confused ahead of elections," 22 Jan. 2020 The repairs were needed to the 1.6-mile-long tunnel, or siphon, where the CAP water uses a 21-foot diameter steel tunnel deep below the Salt River. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "Notice the dry canal in Mesa and the East Valley? This is why it was empty for 6 weeks," 10 Dec. 2019 During his presentation, Gettinger said tunnels would use an inverted siphon system to move water during flooding events from a point of higher elevation to a point of lower elevation underground. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "Tunnels could be a viable solution to flooding in Houston," 21 Aug. 2019 For example, would a financial transaction tax siphon wealth from banks and their affluent clients? Washington Post, "Wealth Tax," 24 June 2019 Massive underground flood tunnels straight to Brays Bayou, with associated siphons and pump stations; intermittent detention ponds to collect and reduce flows to the existing storm sewer system. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire moves forward with regional flood planning," 28 Nov. 2019 Even for people who prepare by filling bathtubs ahead of an outage, moving water with siphons and buckets requires physical strength and agility, Rubinoff said. Carolyn Said,, "No heat, no light? Not so bad. No water? Much worse," 31 Oct. 2019 Replete with exterior walls, a functioning lime-green kitchen, a dining room with a table and a soda siphon, a living room with a fireplace and hardwood floors, wainscoting and whatnot., "12 recommended Chicago shows to see right now," 11 Oct. 2019 Eventually, traces of the bacteria were found in siphons in two of the sinks and on the rubber door seal and detergent drawer of a washing machine in the hospital's basement. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Your Washing Machine Could Be a Breeding Ground for Hazardous Germs," 30 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Thornberry’s pushback bolstered a deluge of criticism coming from Democrats, who fumed that the siphoning for the wall would take away funds that were slated to go toward fighter jets like the F-35, Navy ships and National Guard equipment. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Top Texas Republican criticizes Trump’s plans to divert $3.8B from military to border wall," 13 Feb. 2020 One of them first explodes as a supernova to form a pulsar, which then spins up to very high rotation rates by siphoning gas from its companion, transforming the companion into a slowly spinning white dwarf. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Bizarre Cosmic Dance Offers Fresh Test for General Relativity," 30 Jan. 2020 More than 120 journalists in 20 countries have spent more than eight months combing through the files, which reveal how dos Santos siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars in public money out of one of the poorest countries on the planet. Max De Haldevang, Quartz, "All the companies tied to Isabel dos Santos," 19 Jan. 2020 Lyall siphoned $49,000 from a family trust and $47,500 from a real estate partnership, using the money to pay taxes and personal expenses, according to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Joseph Cranney, ProPublica, "These Judges Can Have Less Training Than Barbers but Still Decide Thousands of Cases Each Year," 27 Nov. 2019 The eternal truth is that politicians, while claiming to be working in the public’s interest, never run out of excuses for siphoning money out of our pockets. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: TABOR, or not TABOR (10/1/19)," 1 Oct. 2019 Advocates for pet-friendly shelters have faced questions about whether accommodating animals siphons focus and resources from abused people, or how people who fear for their lives can think about their pets. Washington Post, "Domestic violence shelter being custom-built to include pets," 30 May 2018 There’s a lot riding on the gamble, as traditional media companies seek to siphon the subscription revenue now going to Netflix and other streaming giants. Mae Anderson, The Denver Post, "Beyond Netflix: Disney Plus joins the streaming fray," 17 Nov. 2019 The probe would pass by Jupiter and perhaps later dive perilously close to the sun, in both cases to siphon a fraction of each object’s momentum, picking up speed to supercharge its escape. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Proposed Interstellar Mission Reaches for the Stars, One Generation at a Time," 12 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for siphon

Time Traveler

The first known use of siphon was in 1659

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Statistics for siphon

Last Updated

1 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Siphon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for siphon


How to pronounce siphon (audio)

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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for siphon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with siphon

Spanish Central: Translation of siphon

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

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