vacuum

noun
vac·​u·​um | \ ˈva-(ˌ)kyüm How to pronounce vacuum (audio) , -kyəm also -kyü-əm How to pronounce vacuum (audio) \
plural vacuums or vacua\ ˈva-​kyə-​wə How to pronounce vacua (audio) \

Definition of vacuum

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : emptiness of space
2a : a space absolutely devoid of matter
b : a space partially exhausted (as to the highest degree possible) by artificial means (such as an air pump)
c : a degree of rarefaction below atmospheric pressure
3a : a state or condition resembling a vacuum : void the power vacuum in Indochina after the departure of the French— Norman Cousins
b : a state of isolation from outside influences people who live in a vacuum … so that the world outside them is of no moment— W. S. Maugham
4 : a device creating or utilizing a partial vacuum especially : vacuum cleaner

vacuum

verb
vacuumed; vacuuming; vacuums

Definition of vacuum (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to use a vacuum device (such as a vacuum cleaner) on vacuum the living room
2 : to draw or take in by or as if by suction

intransitive verb

: to operate a vacuum device

vacuum

adjective

Definition of vacuum (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : of, containing, producing, or utilizing a partial vacuum separated by means of vacuum distillation
2 : of or relating to a vacuum device or system

Examples of vacuum in a Sentence

Noun

the vacuum of outer space A pump was used to create a vacuum inside the bottle.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Luigi's ghost-sucking vacuum can now slam ghosts on the ground, use a plunger to pull scenery, and send ghosts away with a burst of air. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Switch Zelda sequel, Animal Crossing headline Nintendo’s E3 event," 11 June 2019 In the vacuum created by his silence, Durant’s status as a pending free agent and months of rumors about a possible offseason departure led outsiders to speculate about his motivations. Joe Nguyen, The Denver Post, "Kevin Durant a game-time decision for Game 5, Steve Kerr says," 10 June 2019 The thirtysomething Dubliner, a vacuum repairman and musician, is mourning the loss of his girlfriend, who has moved to New York. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "Mad Cow’s ‘Once’ hits the heart but doesn’t quite grab the soul | Review," 9 June 2019 Still, some of the start-up’s most popular rentals are Dyson vacuums and Arlo Skye pieces of luggage — items that appeal to young people who are new to professional life, but not yet settled down. Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times, "They See It. They Like It. They Want It. They Rent It.," 8 June 2019 The following day, the store reported that two additional vacuums had been stolen on May 15. Pioneer Press Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Niles police: Man accused of swearing at customers, refusing to leave doughnut shop," 7 June 2019 English teams were subsequently banned from competing in Europe, which left a vacuum in which there was a series of one-off winners before an Italian resurgence. 1843, "A league of their own: how English clubs conquered Europe," 7 June 2019 One reason Trump has become a conservative litmus test is that there’s a policy vacuum on the right, and Trump’s personality is filling the void. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "USS John S. McCain Episode Speaks Volumes about Trumpism," 5 June 2019 VelaShape is a short-term treatment that uses infrared laser, radio-frequency and vacuum suction to pull in the skin and thicken the tissue, making cellulite less visible. April Franzino, Good Housekeeping, "Is It Possible to Get Rid of Cellulite? Here's What Dermatologists Say," 24 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While the thought of vacuuming a gazillion cookie crumbs and tackling all those dirty dishes can be daunting, figuring out when to take down the Christmas tree might just be the toughest task of them all. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "When Should You Take Your Christmas Tree Down? The Answer Will Definitely Surprise You," 24 Dec. 2018 Just don't start vacuuming up a storm or Kondo-ing your closet late at night. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The Right Way to Clean Your Bedroom So You Can Sleep Better Than Ever," 14 Mar. 2019 Before you get started, sweep dirt from the window frame with a brush or vacuum it up with your machine's dusting attachment. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Way to Clean Windows, According to Our Cleaning Lab," 22 Feb. 2019 It can easily be vacuumed and spot-cleaned with mild soap and water. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "What is a Jute Rug?," 20 Feb. 2019 Dust and vacuum the living room and rearrange the furniture. Melissa Rolland, courant.com, "Projects That Don't Break The Bank," 19 June 2018 Sweep or vacuum the work surface to remove any dust, dirt or debris. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Cut Glass," 11 Feb. 2019 Nothing prevents or discourages girls from vacuuming up the details of an atlas. Heather Mac Donald, WSJ, "Sorry, Feminists, Men Are Better at Scrabble," 16 Nov. 2018 In brief clips from stylists who got their hands on the tool early, strands of hair are vacuumed into the tool’s curling chamber and wound around an internal rotating iron. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Chi's Rotating Curling Iron Is Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen Before," 12 Sep. 2018

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

Noun

1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1922, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1825, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vacuum

Noun

borrowed from Medieval Latin (translation of Greek kenón), from neuter of Latin vacuus "empty, unoccupied," from vacāre "to be empty or unoccupied, have space, be free" + -uus, deverbal adjective suffix — more at vacant

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Statistics for vacuum

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vacuum

The first known use of vacuum was in 1550

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More Definitions for vacuum

vacuum

noun

English Language Learners Definition of vacuum

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an empty space in which there is no air or other gas : a space from which all or most of the air has been removed
: a situation created when an important person or thing has gone and has not been replaced

vacuum

verb

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

: to clean (something) with a vacuum cleaner

vacuum

noun
vac·​u·​um | \ ˈva-ˌkyüm How to pronounce vacuum (audio) \
plural vacuums or vacua\ -​kyə-​wə \

Kids Definition of vacuum

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a space completely empty of matter
2 : a space from which most of the air has been removed (as by a pump)

vacuum

verb
vacuumed; vacuuming

Kids Definition of vacuum (Entry 2 of 2)

: to use a vacuum cleaner on She's vacuuming the carpet.

vacuum

noun
vac·​u·​um | \ ˈvak-(ˌ)yüm How to pronounce vacuum (audio) , -yu̇-əm How to pronounce vacuum (audio) , -yəm\
plural vacuums or vacua\ -​yə-​wə How to pronounce vacua (audio) \

Medical Definition of vacuum

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : emptiness of space
2a : a space absolutely devoid of matter
b : a space partially exhausted (as to the highest degree possible) by artificial means (as an air pump)
c : a degree of rarefaction below atmospheric pressure : negative pressure

vacuum

adjective

Medical Definition of vacuum (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, containing, producing, or utilizing a partial vacuum separated by means of vacuum distillation
2 : of or relating to a vacuum device or system

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More from Merriam-Webster on vacuum

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vacuum

Spanish Central: Translation of vacuum

Nglish: Translation of vacuum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vacuum for Arabic Speakers

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