vapor

noun
va·por | \ ˈvā-pər \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from vapor

Verb

vaporer \-pər-ər \ noun

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

As subjects sat unmoving for several minutes, their images were exposed to the plates, which were then developed using heated mercury vapor and a gold chloride solution. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Particle Accelerator Reveals Hidden Faces in Damaged 19th-Century Daguerreotype Portraits," 10 July 2018 White, hot vapor and blue fumes started emanating from cracks Thursday afternoon, Hawaii County officials said. Joe Sutton, CNN, "This isn't the first time volcanic lava has spread in Hawaii residential areas," 4 May 2018 Smog, also known as ground-level ozone, is formed by a reaction between sunlight and pollution from car tailpipes, power plants and factories, fumes from volatile solvents and gasoline vapors. Michael Hawthorne, chicagotribune.com, "EPA chief Pruitt overrules agency staff, gives Wisconsin's Walker, Foxconn big break on smog," 2 May 2018 Now a Stinger—a GT2 version deluxe ($50,100, as tested), with a throat-singing V6, rear-wheel drive, adaptive suspension, brakes for days—is sitting in front of my house, giving local dads the vapors. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2018 Kia Stinger GT2: The Best German Car to Come Out of South Korea," 6 Apr. 2018 Breathing in the vapors of essential oils may worsen some respiratory conditions. Philly.com, "Essential oils: Why 'natural' doesn't always mean safe," 22 May 2018 The devices heat liquid into an inhalable vapor that's sold in sugary flavors like mango and mint – and often with the addictive drug nicotine. Collin Binkley, The Christian Science Monitor, "Widespread teen vaping sparks concerns in schools," 30 Apr. 2018 Like other e-cigarettes, Juul is an electronic device that turns liquid — usually containing nicotine — into an inhalable vapor. Matthew Perrone, chicagotribune.com, "Federal health officials crack down on Juul e-cigarette popular in schools," 24 Apr. 2018 Like other e-cigarettes, Juul is an electronic device that turns liquid — usually containing nicotine — into an inhalable vapor. Matthew Perrone, BostonGlobe.com, "US agency cracks down on Juul e-cigarette popular in schools," 24 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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.

See More

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"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vapor

Listen to Our Podcast about vapor

Statistics for vapor

Last Updated

6 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vapor

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vapor

vapor

noun

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 \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on vapor

What made you want to look up vapor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!