vacuum

1 of 3

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 vacuum (audio)
1
: emptiness of space
2
a
: 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
3
a
: a state or condition resembling a vacuum : void
the power vacuum in Indochina after the departure of the FrenchNorman Cousins
b
: a state of isolation from outside influences
people who live in a vacuum … so that the world outside them is of no momentW. S. Maugham
4
: a device creating or utilizing a partial vacuum
especially : vacuum cleaner

vacuum

2 of 3

verb

vacuumed; vacuuming; vacuums

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

3 of 3

adjective

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
Kitchen gadgets are in abundance too, like a knife sharpener, digital meat thermometer, and vacuum sealer machine. Amy Schulman, Peoplemag, 17 Feb. 2024 The impasse between House and Senate leaders has created a regulatory vacuum that state legislators have increasingly sought to fill by passing their own privacy and child safety bills. Cristiano Lima-Strong, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2024 To fly Omni-Heat Infinity onboard Odie, Columbia and Intuitive Machines had to check that both the material and the glue used to adhere it could withstand extreme temperature ranges and the vacuum of space. Michael Greshko, Scientific American, 9 Feb. 2024 According to the release, there have been 17 reports of the vacuums smoking and emitting a burning odor. Jenna Ryu, SELF, 5 Feb. 2024 Short Circuit Amazon’s acquisition of the company that makes Roomba robot vacuums has been halted. Boone Ashworth, WIRED, 3 Feb. 2024 Click here for help identifying if your vacuum is affected by the recall. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 2 Feb. 2024 Key Takeaways Stanley said the sealing material used for the vacuum insulation at the base of its products includes some lead, but a stainless steel layer prevents the lead from coming into contact with users. Stephanie Brown, Verywell Health, 1 Feb. 2024 The cordless vacuum is available in two colors, silver and blue, and comes with a charging base that takes up little space and two attachments — a flat brush and a square attachment. Lauren Fischer, Peoplemag, 6 Feb. 2024
Verb
Ultimately, her babysitter made a total of $115 for four hours of babysitting, which included four extra tasks: cleaning the glass on a sliding door, toy and silverware drawer organizing, and vacuuming the couch. Kristina Behr, Parents, 15 Feb. 2024 The dredging firm Boskalis built the project last May, vacuuming up more than 8 million cubic yards of sand to build a motor about one-third the size of the original one in the Netherlands. Jake Bittle, WIRED, 10 Feb. 2024 On the other hand, coffee grounds were able to be vacuumed up without a problem. Moriah Mason, Southern Living, 28 Jan. 2024 What Could Be Better Debris was difficult to vacuum out of the long fibers. Moriah Mason, Southern Living, 28 Jan. 2024 The sand is being vacuumed up from an area 35 to 55 feet deep in the ocean. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Jan. 2024 Soil was similarly easy to vacuum up, and there was no residue left behind. Nor'adila Hepburn, Southern Living, 25 Jan. 2024 The couch and the space around it needed to be vacuumed regularly. Alida Nugent, Peoplemag, 8 Jan. 2024 Cleaners vacuum the carpets of the camp museum and wash the glass cases containing piles of shoes, clothes and suitcases. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Jan. 2024
Adjective
Both the container and the vacuum sealer bags keep food fresh for up to five times longer than non-vacuum sealed containers, plus, the container and bags are reusable and resealable. Amanda Ogle, Southern Living, 11 Jan. 2024 The non-vacuum up there is dense enough, in fact, that atmospheric drag keeps pulling the station down, requiring regular orbital boosts. Corey S Powell, Discover Magazine, 1 Feb. 2017 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of vacuum was in 1550

Dictionary Entries Near vacuum

Cite this Entry

“Vacuum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vacuum. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

vacuum

1 of 3 noun
vac·​u·​um ˈvak-yüm How to pronounce vacuum (audio) -yu̇-əm How to pronounce vacuum (audio)
-yəm
plural vacuums or vacua -yə-wə How to pronounce vacuum (audio)
1
a
: a space completely empty of matter
b
: a space from which most of the air has been removed (as by a pump)
2

vacuum

2 of 3 adjective
: of, containing, producing, or using a partial vacuum
the vacuum method of making coffee

vacuum

3 of 3 verb
: to use a vacuum cleaner on
Etymology

Noun

from Latin vacuum "emptiness," from vacuus "empty"

Medical Definition

vacuum

1 of 2 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 vacuum (audio)
1
: emptiness of space
2
a
: 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

2 of 2 adjective
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
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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