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 However, coming-out stories don't exist in a vacuum. Alamin Yohannes, EW.com, "Arvin Ahmadi on how an Italian getaway inspired his new novel How It All Blew Up," 11 Sep. 2020 The establishment of Plymouth did not occur in a vacuum. Peter C. Mancall, The Conversation, "The complicated legacy of the Pilgrims is finally coming to light 400 years after they landed in Plymouth," 4 Sep. 2020 The MiiR stainless steel, double-walled bottle is vacuum-insulated, holds 64 ounces, and will keep drinks cold for more than 24 hours. Billy Cadden, Popular Science, "What to bring on your next beach trip," 9 July 2019 Or perhaps—more exotically—the ripples came from cosmic strings, hypothetical defects in the vacuum left over from the Big Bang. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Middleweight black holes finally found but they pose a puzzle," 2 Sep. 2020 After all, the TikTok discussions don't exist in a vacuum. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "TikTok's sale is a race against time," 31 Aug. 2020 Rhodes’s recent comments didn’t come in a vacuum; these militias have been tacking Trumpward for years. Casey Michel, The New Republic, "The “Oath Keepers” Are Today’s Blackshirts," 31 Aug. 2020 Homodeus was not a logistics consultancy, but no test was conducted in a vacuum, and every context presented its own complications. Gideon Lewis-kraus, The New Yorker, "Jonathan Rothberg’s Race to Invent the Ultimate Rapid At-Home COVID-19 Test," 29 Aug. 2020 Yet at Southern Miss, the return of college football is not happening in a vacuum. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "'A very risky proposition': As some schools punt on football, others prepare for return of fans — and tailgating," 27 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Don’t vacuum, burn candles, or have a fire in your fireplace. oregonlive, "‘The headache isn’t all in your head’: Oregonians report symptoms from wildfire smoke exposure," 11 Sep. 2020 Higher-end products such as the Roomba i7 and s9 models and Braava jet mops can even vacuum specific areas at specific times of day, like the dining room on a Friday evening. Shannon Liao, CNN, "Your Roomba just got a lot smarter," 25 Aug. 2020 After sanding, vacuum the crack to remove all loose dust and debris. Joseph Truini And Merle Henkenius, Popular Mechanics, "How to Repair Drywall: Common Ways to Fix Damaged Walls," 18 Aug. 2020 ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box Just like a Roomba can vacuum your floors for you, there’s an automatic litter box that doesn’t require scooping, cleaning or refilling for weeks at a time. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, "Want to keep spoiling your pets during the coronavirus pandemic? Here’s the latest in 'pet tech'," 8 Aug. 2020 Together, the two create sophisticated maps that help the unit find the most efficient patterns to vacuum a room. Bradley Ford, Popular Mechanics, "Roborock’s S6 MaxV is the Pet Owner’s Robot Vacuum," 24 July 2020 With outstanding maneuverability, the Miele Scout RX2 Home Vision can vacuum through your home for up to two hours, taking care of your floors and carpet without bumping into obstacles. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "7 Best Robot Vacuums, According to Cleaning Experts," 7 July 2020 To simulate environmental conditions on the moon, scientists subjected the lunar concrete mixture to vacuum and freeze-thaw cycles. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Astronauts Could Use Their Own Pee to Build a Moon Base," 19 May 2020 The production is establishing other safety protocols, including plans to sterilize and vacuum-pack props before each actor uses them and having cast members cut the packages open with their own scissors. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, "From Disney to Michael Bay: Coronavirus TV and Movies Are Coming," 2 June 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.

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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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Time Traveler for vacuum

Time Traveler

The first known use of vacuum was in 1550

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Statistics for vacuum

Last Updated

18 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vacuum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vacuum. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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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

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Comments on vacuum

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