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

To their surprise, the new snails kept their siphons wrapped up much longer after a shock, almost as if they’d been trained. Veronique Greenwood, New York Times, "Scientists Made Snails Remember Something That Never Happened to Them," 15 May 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The conservative think tank favors cuts to benefits and siphoning money from payroll taxes into individual investment accounts. Jeff Sommer, New York Times, "Social Security Is Staring at Its First Real Shortfall in Decades," 12 June 2019 Cha Vang ran into trouble several times in the Twin Cities, including for alleged influence peddling in the mayor’s office and for siphoning funds from the nonprofit, which was disbanded after the incident. Jess Fleming, Twin Cities, "Cha Vang, son of late Hmong leader, charged with felony theft in gold-selling scheme," 3 June 2019 The funding from SoftBank and Honda also allows GM to continue developing driverless-vehicle services without siphoning capital away from its traditional car-making business. Adrienne Roberts And Sean Mclain, WSJ, "Honda to Invest $2.75 Billion in GM’s Self-Driving Car Unit," 3 Oct. 2018 Miranda said per-pupil funding should be raised from roughly $3,000 to $5,000 without siphoning funds from the arts and special education. Perry Vandell, azcentral, "Arizona #RedForEd teacher supporters to line 45 miles of Baseline Road," 25 Apr. 2018 In the new study, researchers reported that the flash was likely emitted by a stellar remnant known as a neutron star, which had just begun siphoning material away from its bloated, nearly dead companion, a red giant. Mike Wall,, "Dying Star Reanimates Stellar Corpse," 6 Mar. 2018 Unhappiness over Trump’s plan to siphon the money from the military has become a bipartisan concern. Alan Fram, The Seattle Times, "Trump border emergency survives as House veto override fails," 27 Mar. 2019 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

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

24 May 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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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

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