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 His resignation also leaves a leadership vacuum at a perilous moment for the world economy. Jack Ewing, BostonGlobe.com, "WTO chief quits suddenly, adding to global uncertainty," 14 May 2020 His resignation also leaves a leadership vacuum at a perilous moment for the world economy. Jack Ewing, New York Times, "W.T.O. Chief Quits Suddenly, Adding to Global Turmoil," 14 May 2020 Counting out worried seniors would leave a huge vacuum in volunteers. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty County’s May elections postponed due to coronavirus concerns," 25 Mar. 2020 Some examples mask filters include vacuum bags, air filters, coffee filters, and unscented dry baby wipes. Jamie Ueda, USA TODAY, "8 things you need to know before making or buying your own mask," 30 Apr. 2020 Some articles have explained this phenomenon as the result of fire creating a vacuum inside the bottle. John Kennedy, Popular Science, "Stay-at-home science project: Use fire to push an egg into a bottle," 29 Apr. 2020 But now, everything is canceled, and yet, nature abhors a vacuum. Dallas News, "Art and the City: Local visual artists have found a new sense of vulnerability in pandemic isolation," 26 Apr. 2020 Nature abhors a vacuum, however, and a crisis probably needs a leader. Hasit Shah, Quartz, "The UK does not have a clear emergency succession plan for its prime minister," 6 Apr. 2020 Instead, the silence created a vacuum, which created speculation, and speculation is the enemy of truth. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball's silence on Zavier Simpson sends the wrong message," 8 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This dog brush with a cult following A good dog brush will save you a lot of time and effort vacuuming pet hair off your carpets and furniture, and many pet parents swear by the FURminator. Camryn Rabideau, USA TODAY, "20 must-have products for new dog owners," 28 May 2020 Screaming kids and loud vacuuming make the visit a lot more challenging for both you and your doctor. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "How To Make The Most Of Your Virtual Doctor's Appointment," 19 May 2020 Once the space is empty, wipe the shelves and vacuum the floor. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "12 Home Cleaning Hacks From Hotel Housekeeping and Professional Organizers," 5 May 2020 The Doctors Hobby-horse competition; stomach vacuuming; mom sees baby ghost in crib; turmeric water benefits. Los Angeles Times, "What’s on TV Friday: ‘Betty’ premieres on HBO; Coronavirus," 30 Apr. 2020 That reduces the number of people and the overall cosmetic work such as vacuuming. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "Everyday heroes: Meet the Kentucky Capitol cleaning crew fighting the 'invisible man'," 23 Apr. 2020 Some might even say that vacuuming can have a meditative effect. Popular Science, "Four of the most reliable vacuum cleaners on the market," 22 Apr. 2020 Vacuum Begin by vacuuming the rug thoroughly on both sides, removing all loose dirt. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "How to Clean a Rug So It Lasts Longer," 13 Apr. 2020 The nozzle is dishwasher-safe and contains any liquids that may escape while vacuuming. Gabrielle Hondorp, Popular Mechanics, "The 7 Best Food Vacuum Sealers To Keep Your Meals Fresh," 8 Apr. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vacuum

Time Traveler for vacuum

Time Traveler

The first known use of vacuum was in 1550

See more words from the same year

Statistics for vacuum

Last Updated

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vacuum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vacuum. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vacuum

vacuum

noun
How to pronounce vacuum (audio) How to pronounce vacuum (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on vacuum

What made you want to look up vacuum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!