vacuum

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

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

Again, in theory and in a vacuum, an admirable and important goal; in practice, likely a quixotic one. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Billionaires are spending their fortunes reshaping America’s schools. It isn’t working.," 30 Oct. 2018 While Melissa, who’s wearing a ‘Witches Be Crazy’ shirt, gives some sage advice (choose the vacuum, Kiernan?) Nate just hopes that the new Harvey, Ross Lynch, makes it out alive. Sarah Grace Hart, Teen Vogue, ""Sabrina the Teenage Witch" Cast Wishes "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Cast Good Luck," 26 Oct. 2018 Check out those and a bunch of other deals on mesh router systems, robot vacuums, gaming consoles, printers, and more below. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Dealmaster: Prime members get 3 free months of Audible, $200 off Acer gaming laptop," 23 Oct. 2018 To remove dust from a foam pillow, vacuum both sides with the upholstery tool. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean Pillows the Right Way," 17 Oct. 2018 No distant sound of a vacuum, or car horns, or voices ricocheting around the columns. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "An empty US Capitol after McCain’s death is sobering reminder that the clock is ticking," 28 Aug. 2018 Nia Wilson’s brutal killing can’t be examined in a vacuum, siloed from the very real and lived experiences of black women daily. Niema Jordan, Glamour, "Why We Can't Afford to Ignore the Killing of Oakland Teenager Nia Wilson," 27 July 2018 The business offers free vacuums, free drying towels and free air fresheners. Bob Bong, Daily Southtown, "Comings & Goings: Chicago Ridge Mall remodeling food court, adding meeting space," 8 May 2018 The passenger is seen in the video using a tool to pry open the vacuum machine. latimes.com, "Crime Report: Burglary victim believes thief accessed home by using garage door remote control," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While studies have shown that having a pet can help you live longer, the day-to-day tasks of caring for a pet—constantly vacuuming up canine fur, mopping up muddy paw prints, and/or drying up drool—can be exhausting. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "If You Have A Pet, You Need This Doggy Room," 25 Oct. 2018 Those brown dwarfs, unlike beta Pictoris, weren't surrounded by much gas or dust, so their new planet couldn't have formed by vacuuming up the stellar disk. Meghan Bartels, Space.com, "Twin Exoplanets Look Alike, Act Alike … But Have Completely Different Origins," 18 July 2018 The outer planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune — were formed by vacuuming up smaller objects in their paths. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Astronomers discovered 10 new moons of Jupiter. Where have they been hiding?," 17 July 2018 Some in Washington now expect that China will vacuum up much of the Iranian oil that other nations won’t buy because of the threat of U.S. sanctions, according to a senior U.S. government energy official. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, "U.S. Expects China to Buy Even More Iranian Oil After Sanctions," 17 July 2018 Another attendant vacuumed the carpet in each cabin. New York Times, "For a 90-Minute Game, a Train Ride of 27 Hours," 26 June 2018 The library’s six reading tables are covered every evening with leather shrouds, which shield the wood from corrosive bat droppings and need to be vacuumed regularly. Patricia Kowsmann, WSJ, "The Bats Help Preserve Old Books But They Drive Librarians, Well, Batty," 17 June 2018 After dusting, sweeping and vacuuming to remove dirt and dust from the home, air filters are the next line of defense. Marni Jameson, OrlandoSentinel.com, "5 steps to a healthier home," 4 Apr. 2018 In addition, researchers vacuumed 15 nests to sample the insects and arachnids nearby. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Science Says Your Bed Is Dirtier Than a Chimpanzee's," 19 May 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

16 Nov 2018

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 \
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, -yu̇-əm, -yəm\
plural vacuums or vacua\ -​yə-​wə \

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

Spanish Central: Translation of vacuum

Nglish: Translation of vacuum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vacuum for Arabic Speakers

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