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

As the chartreuse warmed up and the gravity inside the rotovap lowered due to the vacuum, the alcohol in the rotovap began to evaporate. Andrew Daniels, Popular Mechanics, "This Mad Science Experiment Is the Key to the Perfect Mint Julep," 3 May 2019 Politicians who talk about democratic values but don’t offer concrete answers to what matters most leave a vacuum for authoritarian leaders who do. Ioan Grillo, The New Republic, "When Democracy Isn’t Enough," 6 June 2018 The offseason trade of shortstop Freddy Galvis left a vacuum in the leadership department. Marcus Hayes, Philly.com, "Rhys Hoskins regrets confrontation with fan | Marcus Hayes," 25 June 2018 Ambitious men push aside idealists and, in turn, fall prey to rivals even more ruthless than they, eager to exploit the power vacuum created when institutions collapse. William Anthony Hay, WSJ, "‘Revolutionary’ Review: The Real Revolution," 29 Mar. 2019 Remove the shop vacuum’s paper air filter to do this. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The DIY Guide To Fixing Your Leaky Air Conditioner," 15 Mar. 2019 But two robot vacuums from Eufy are going cheap on Amazon today that helps lower the cost of entry. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Upgrade To Hands-Free Cleaning With Amazon's Robo-Vac Sale," 25 Feb. 2019 The idea first started when Whitehouse and his wife were researching robot vacuums. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "‘Doomba’ turns your Roomba’s cleaning maps into Doom levels," 26 Dec. 2018 Among Amazon's other incredible deals on products like Instant Pots, Vitamix Blenders, and Bissell Vacuum Cleaners, Roomba robot vacuums are on major sale. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "These Roombas Are On Sale On Amazon, So You Can Save Up To $175," 29 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Before you get started, sweep dirt from the window frame with a brush or vacuum it up with your machine's dusting attachment. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Way to Clean Windows, According to Our Cleaning Lab," 22 Feb. 2019 It can easily be vacuumed and spot-cleaned with mild soap and water. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "What is a Jute Rug?," 20 Feb. 2019 Dust and vacuum the living room and rearrange the furniture. Melissa Rolland, courant.com, "Projects That Don't Break The Bank," 19 June 2018 Sweep or vacuum the work surface to remove any dust, dirt or debris. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Cut Glass," 11 Feb. 2019 Nothing prevents or discourages girls from vacuuming up the details of an atlas. Heather Mac Donald, WSJ, "Sorry, Feminists, Men Are Better at Scrabble," 16 Nov. 2018 In brief clips from stylists who got their hands on the tool early, strands of hair are vacuumed into the tool’s curling chamber and wound around an internal rotating iron. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Chi's Rotating Curling Iron Is Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen Before," 12 Sep. 2018 To help the kelp, commercial divers along Northern California’s Mendocino coast are tending a precious stand of kelp forest, plucking off the purple sea urchins by hand and using suction hoses to vacuum them up, says Catton. Washington Post, "Sea otters rebound but struggle to regain historic range," 18 May 2018 Cleveland Whiskey in Ohio utilizes an aggressive, highly oxygenated, vacuumed, and pressurized environment to extract flavor from different strains of wood to produce its products rapidly. Alan Goldfarb, The Verge, "Artificial whiskey is coming, and one company is betting you’ll drink up," 23 Aug. 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

18 May 2019

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 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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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

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