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si·​phon ˈsī-fən How to pronounce siphon (audio)
variants or less commonly
: 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
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
: any of various tubular organs in animals and especially mollusks or arthropods that are used for drawing in or ejecting fluids

Illustration of siphon

Illustration of siphon
  • siphon 1a


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variants or less commonly syphon
siphoned also syphoned; siphoning also syphoning ˈsī-fə-niŋ How to pronounce siphon (audio)

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
For a bowl of mushroom ramen, the broth is heated tableside in a Japanese coffee siphon, a complexly vertical contraption that looks like lab equipment and is thrillingly, pointlessly dramatic as a vehicle for soup. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 22 Oct. 2023 While some bars use substances like agar-agar and xanthan gum to create eggless foams and froths, some of those require nitrous-oxide siphons or other equipment. M. Carrie Allan, Charlotte Observer, 29 Jan. 2024 On a gurney, a brain-dead patient lay connected to a whirring Rube Goldberg-esque machine: a tangle of tubes and siphons on wheels. Megan Molteni, STAT, 18 Jan. 2024 The original plan called for permanently closing siphons. Bryan Hendricks,, 10 Dec. 2023 The new slide said the siphons will be left open as needed. Bryan Hendricks,, 10 Dec. 2023 Indigenous people say that falsely claiming and appropriating their identity siphons away resources and opportunities from Indigenous people and fuels harmful stereotypes in a country where the real trauma Indigenous people have experienced has often been dismissed. Amanda Coletta, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2023 To meet that demand, private companies producing sugar (and, later, pineapples) rerouted the flow from Maui’s watersheds, building concrete ditches, tunnels, pipes, flumes, siphons, and trestles across the island. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, 30 Oct. 2023 The whole body, from its base all the way up to the siphons, is complete. Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 6 July 2023
The New San Diego campaign appears to be attempting to siphon more Republican votes from Turner and, to a lesser degree, perhaps Jones-Wright. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Feb. 2024 Prosecutors also claim the trio siphoned money away from a grant aimed at helping neighborhoods prepare for earthquakes by using that money to purchase thousands of dollars of Oculus virtual reality headsets, high-end cameras, tablets and an HDTV projector. Jakob Rodgers, The Mercury News, 25 Jan. 2024 Microsoft announced in March 2023 that Bing surpassed the 100 million monthly active users mark based on interest in Bing Chat and its ilk; by Microsoft's estimates, each percentage of Google's search market share that Bing could siphon away was worth as much as $2 billion to Microsoft. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 18 Jan. 2024 The businessman, whom federal prosecutors consider a corrupt enabler of Venezuela’s authoritarian socialist government, is accused of siphoning off hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts. Craig Whitlock, Washington Post, 20 Dec. 2023 Which states siphoned the most residents away from California? Harriet Blair Rowan, The Mercury News, 18 Jan. 2024 The challenge for DeSantis and Haley is that siphoning off soft Trump supporters while also holding on to anti-Trump Republicans has been more difficult than expected. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, 11 Jan. 2024 Israel also periodically accuses Hamas of siphoning off what supplies do get through. A Special Correspondent, Los Angeles Times, 28 Dec. 2023 Actually, the ideas were there, but the audience was being siphoned off by a living room rival that, year by year, caused the weekly attendance graph to spike ever downward. Thomas Doherty, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'siphon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1859, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of siphon was in 1659

Dictionary Entries Near siphon

Cite this Entry

“Siphon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
variants also syphon
: a bent tube through which a liquid can be drawn by means of air pressure up and over the edge of one container and into another container at a lower level
: any of various tube-shaped organs in animals and especially mollusks that are used to draw in or pass off fluids


2 of 2 verb
variants also syphon
siphoned also syphoned; siphoning also syphoning
: to draw off or pass off by or as if by a siphon
siphoned off money for a vacation

More from Merriam-Webster on siphon

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