vapor

noun
va·​por | \ ˈvā-pər How to pronounce vapor (audio) \

Definition of vapor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : diffused matter (such as smoke or fog) suspended floating in the air and impairing its transparency
2a : a substance in the gaseous state as distinguished from the liquid or solid state
b : a substance (such as gasoline, alcohol, mercury, or benzoin) vaporized for industrial, therapeutic, or military uses also : a mixture (such as the explosive mixture in an internal combustion engine) of such a vapor with air
3a : something unsubstantial or transitory : phantasm
b : a foolish or fanciful idea
4 vapors plural
a archaic : exhalations of bodily organs (such as the stomach) held to affect the physical or mental condition
b : a depressed or hysterical nervous condition

vapor

verb
vapored; vaporing\ ˈvā-​p(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce vaporing (audio) \

Definition of vapor (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to rise or pass off in vapor
b : to emit vapor
2 : to indulge in bragging, blustering, or idle talk

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Other Words from vapor

Verb

vaporer \ ˈvā-​pər-​ər How to pronounce vaporer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for vapor

Synonyms: Verb

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Did You Know?

Verb

Speakers of the English language, mindful of the lightness and unsubstantiality of floating air and gas, have put several airy words to good use over the years to describe the act of talking idly or boastfully. The earliest such word is blow (as in "he kept blowing about his new job"), which drifted into English sometime about 1400. Vapor wafted into the language in the 1620s, and a little over 200 years later windbags, later also known as gasbags, not only blew and vapored but also gassed about anything they could.

Examples of vapor in a Sentence

Verb a faded Southern belle tiresomely vaporing about all the handsome beaux she had in her long-ago youth
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Badger’s cell doors are made of bars, not solid materials, allowing vapor and droplets to travel from the upper tiers to the lower levels. Jason Fagone, SFChronicle.com, "Federal judge: San Quentin COVID-19 outbreak result of ‘significant failure’," 22 June 2020 If the tear gas was released outdoors, the agency advised seeking the highest ground possible as the dense vapor cloud travels close to the ground. USA Today, "Going to protest George Floyd's death? Here's how to protect yourself against tear gas, pepper spray," 2 June 2020 Franklin residents concerned about environmental pollution and toxic vapors entering their homes met with the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Inspector General to share their concerns about cancer. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "Second source of toxic chemicals in Franklin known for decades, but borders still unclear," 2 Dec. 2019 For a few weeks at the end of 2012 and into 2013, toxic vapors got into two campus buildings, possibly exposing the office workers there to levels of chemicals above the legal limit set by the EPA. Tatiana Schlossberg, The Atlantic, "Silicon Valley’s Legacy of Toxic Waste," 22 Sep. 2019 Over centuries, diverse cultural meanings have taken shape in this insubstantial vapor. Rachel Polonsky, The New York Review of Books, "Naked Souls," 27 May 2020 Using a hazard detection kit, the PJs would conduct a sweep around the capsule to make sure no toxic propellant vapors are present. William Harwood, CBS News, "SpaceX Crew Dragon abort system a major boost for crew safety," 26 May 2020 Preparation and packaging Packaging materials must be moisture and vapor resistant, durable and leak proof to maintain the quality of food. Washington Post, "The big chill: A guide to using your freezer," 13 May 2020 However, the bigger concern is putting any smoke or vapor in your lungs — marijuana or tobacco — given the way COVID-19 affects the respiratory system. Los Angeles Times, "Southern California dispensaries list their top edibles options for 4/20," 20 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the fourth, Evers used his veto in an attempt to ensure a tax on vaping products would apply to any device containing fluid and to vapor fluid sold separately. Washington Post, "Conservative lawsuit challenges Wisconsin governor’s vetoes," 31 July 2019 In the fourth, Evers used his veto in an attempt to ensure a tax on vaping products would apply to any device containing fluid and to vapor fluid sold separately. Washington Post, "Conservative lawsuit challenges Wisconsin governor’s vetoes," 31 July 2019 But whole body cryotherapy exposes the body for a couple of minutes to vapor that has been supercooled to somewhere between minus 200 and minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Aaron E. Carroll, New York Times, "Cold Therapy? Maybe Better Save Your Money," 2 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vapor.' 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 vapor

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for vapor

Noun

Middle English vapour, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French vapor, vapour, borrowed from Latin vapor, earlier vapōs "exhalation, steam, warmth," perhaps akin to Lithuanian kvãpas "smell, scent"

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Time Traveler for vapor

Time Traveler

The first known use of vapor was in the 14th century

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Statistics for vapor

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vapor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vapor. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for vapor

vapor

noun
How to pronounce vapor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vapor

: a substance that is in the form of a gas or that consists of very small drops or particles mixed with the air

vapor

noun
va·​por | \ ˈvā-pər How to pronounce vapor (audio) \

Kids Definition of vapor

1 : fine bits (as of fog or smoke) floating in the air and clouding it
2 : a substance in the form of a gas water vapor

vapor

noun
va·​por
variants: or chiefly British vapour \ ˈvā-​pər How to pronounce vapour (audio) \

Medical Definition of vapor

1a : a substance in the gaseous state as distinguished from the liquid or solid state
b : a substance (as alcohol or benzoin) vaporized for industrial, therapeutic, or military uses
2 vapors or chiefly British vapours plural
a : exhalations of bodily organs (as the stomach) formerly held to affect the physical or mental condition
b : a depressed or hysterical nervous condition

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More from Merriam-Webster on vapor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vapor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vapor

Spanish Central: Translation of vapor

Nglish: Translation of vapor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vapor for Arabic Speakers

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