Definition of vapor
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 stateb : 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 : phantasmb : 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 conditionb : a depressed or hysterical nervous condition
vapor was our Word of the Day on 08/23/2013. Hear the podcast!
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Origin and Etymology of vapor
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”
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Examples of vapor in a Sentence
a faded Southern belle tiresomely vaporing about all the handsome beaux she had in her long-ago youth
Did You Know?
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.
First Known Use of vapor
VAPOR Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of vapor for English Language Learners
: a substance that is in the form of a gas or that consists of very small drops or particles mixed with the air
VAPOR Defined for Kids
Definition of vapor for Students
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
Medical Definition of vapor
1a: a substance in the gaseous state as distinguished from the liquid or solid stateb: a substance (as alcohol or benzoin) vaporized for industrial, therapeutic, or military uses
2vapors or chiefly British vapours plural a: exhalations of bodily organs (as the stomach) formerly held to affect the physical or mental conditionb: a depressed or hysterical nervous condition
Seen and Heard
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