vapor

1 of 2

noun

va·​por ˈvā-pər How to pronounce vapor (audio)
1
: diffused matter (such as smoke or fog) suspended floating in the air and impairing its transparency
2
a
: 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
3
a
: 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

2 of 2

verb

vapored; vaporing ˈvā-p(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce vapor (audio)

intransitive verb

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

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.

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
The accordion-looking sheath that covers most of the actual metal nozzle at most California gas stations exists to trap gas vapor from escaping your car’s gas tank while refueling, and they’re called vapor recovery systems. Logan Carter / Jalopnik, Quartz, 21 June 2024 This raises questions about the difference between ceramic, quartz, and other materials and their effects on cannabis vapor oil. Peter Su, Rolling Stone, 18 June 2024
Verb
Nasal decongestant vapor inhaler: A nasal inhaler is a decongestant formula used to inhale for relief. Daley Quinn, Health, 26 Apr. 2024 Volatility, even if reduced in new products, means droplets can go from liquid to vapor and travel on the wind, even after spraying. The Arizona Republic, 10 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for vapor 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vapor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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"

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near vapor

Cite this Entry

“Vapor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vapor. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

vapor

noun
va·​por
ˈvā-pər
1
: fine particles of matter (as fog or smoke) floating in the air and clouding it
2
: a substance in the gaseous state

Medical Definition

vapor

noun
va·​por
variants or chiefly British vapour
1
a
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on vapor

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