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 vacuum (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 The concept of a vacuum is one of the most fundamental and difficult ideas to wrap one’s head around. Bruce Dorminey, Forbes, "Provocative New Neil DeGrasse Tyson Book Highlights Little-Known Cosmic Tidbits," 18 Mar. 2021 The effects of this vacuum are becoming more pronounced. Washington Post, "China scrubs evidence of Xinjiang clampdown amid ‘genocide’ debate," 17 Mar. 2021 Clark’s departure compounded the sense of a leadership vacuum at BAM, coming after the death last summer of its hands-on chairman, Adam Max. New York Times, "BAM Helped Buy Its Boss a New Home. She Left in Under 6 Years.," 4 Mar. 2021 The deployment of federal troops there has raised fears of a security vacuum in other restive regions. Reuters, CNN, "More than 100 people killed in dawn attack on Ethiopian village, rights group says," 24 Dec. 2020 The perfect gift for someone visiting your house over the holidays, this 12-ounce stainless steel tumbler is double-walled and vacuum-sealed to keep drinks warm or cold for hours. Tanner Saunders, USA TODAY, "20 must-have holiday gifts you can get at Macy's," 17 Nov. 2020 The moves take advantage of a vacuum left by now-absent U.S. and European actors, analysts say, in order to realize Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambitions of regional preeminence – and to enhance his popularity at home. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, "How Turkey’s use of military power furthers Erdoğan’s ambitions," 16 Nov. 2020 This Hydro Flask coffee cup is vacuum-insulated and made with long-lasting stainless steel. Kai Burkhardt, CNN Underscored, "Easy product swaps to help you live a more eco-friendly life," 22 Oct. 2020 The wand of a canister vacuum can often extend like a telescope, or accept extension tubes. Michael Pollick, chicagotribune.com, "The best canister vacuum of 2020," 6 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For example, if your family is partial to movie nights on the couch, vacuum the cushions and launder throw blankets and pillows. Washington Post, "Spring cleaning: How to clear the cobwebs without adding to your pandemic stress," 23 Mar. 2021 Users can also vacuum and spot clean their rug for day-to-day upkeep. Hanna Horvath, NBC News, "The 6 best washable rugs of 2021, according to cleaning experts," 16 Mar. 2021 Sprinkle freely over carpet or upholstery, wait for 15 minutes, then vacuum away. Samantha Driscoll, Better Homes & Gardens, "Here's Every Winner from Our 2021 Clean House Awards," 12 Mar. 2021 Afterward, the customer can vacuum the vehicle’s interior for free at one of 18 vacuums on site. John Benson, cleveland, "CLean Express Wash set to open Parma location on March 19," 3 Mar. 2021 This is great for those who want to vacuum without disturbing other household members or scaring the pets. Lauren Corona, chicagotribune.com, "What are cordless vacuums best for?," 22 Feb. 2021 About 2,000 of the janitors from SEIU Local 87 have continued to vacuum floors, scrub bathrooms and sort trash in city offices throughout the past year. Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, "S.F. janitors fight for safety as they continue cleaning offices during pandemic," 7 Mar. 2021 To clean the dryer completely, remove the screws that hold the outer housing in place on the back of the appliance, open and vacuum out the entire inside cavity. Jeff Harper, chicagotribune.com, "Creative things you can do with a vacuum," 6 Mar. 2021 But taking 60 seconds to empty a dust bin a few times each week is still way better than having to vacuum the floors yourself. Maren Estrada, BGR, "Amazon has a Roomba robot vacuum on sale today for only $224," 5 Mar. 2021

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

Statistics for vacuum

Last Updated

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vacuum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vacuum. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 vacuum (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

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

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!