• synonyms


[sahy-fuh n]
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noun, verb (used with or without object)
  1. siphon.


or sy·phon

[sahy-fuh n]
  1. a tube or conduit bent into legs of unequal length, for use in drawing a liquid from one container into another on a lower level by placing the shorter leg into the container above and the longer leg into the one below, the liquid being forced up the shorter leg and into the longer one by the pressure of the atmosphere.
  2. siphon bottle.
  3. a projecting tubular part of some animals, especially certain mollusks, through which liquid enters or leaves the body.
verb (used with or without object)
  1. to convey, draw, or pass through or as if through a siphon (sometimes followed by off): to siphon water; to siphon off profits into a secret bank account.

Origin of siphon

1650–60; < Latin sīphōn- (stem of sīphō) < Greek síphōn, sī́phōn pipe, tube
Related formssi·phon·al, si·phon·ic [sahy-fon-ik] /saɪˈfɒn ɪk/, adjectivesi·phon·less, adjectivesi·phon·like, adjectivepseu·do·si·phon·al, adjectivepseu·do·si·phon·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for syphon

Historical Examples

  • At the breaking of the syphon, enough water is left in the trap to preserve the seal.

    Rural Hygiene

    Henry N. Ogden

  • These two closets, syphon and the syphon-jet, are preferable to those of any other style.

    Rural Hygiene

    Henry N. Ogden

  • "Certainly, M. Gaston," replied the physician—he was officiating at the syphon.

    The Yellow Claw

    Sax Rohmer

  • Yvonne rose as a maid entered with a tray bearing decanter and syphon.

  • I was only in the room just time enough to place the syphon on the table and withdraw.

    The Woman in Black

    Edmund Clerihew Bentley

British Dictionary definitions for syphon


  1. a variant spelling of siphon



  1. a tube placed with one end at a certain level in a vessel of liquid and the other end outside the vessel below this level, so that liquid pressure forces the liquid through the tube and out of the vessel by gravity
  2. See soda siphon
  3. zoology any of various tubular organs in different aquatic animals, such as molluscs and elasmobranch fishes, through which a fluid, esp water, passes
  1. (often foll by off) to pass or draw off through or as if through a siphon
Derived Formssiphonage, nounsiphonal or siphonic (saɪˈfɒnɪk), adjective

Word Origin

C17: from Latin sīphō, from Greek siphōn siphon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for syphon



late 14c., from Latin sipho (genitive siphonis) "a siphon," from Greek siphon "pipe, tube for drawing wine from a cask," of unknown origin. Related: Siphonal.



1859, from siphon (n.). Figurative sense of "to draw off, divert" is recorded from 1940. Related: Siphoned; siphoning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

syphon in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. A tube bent into an inverted U shape of unequal lengths, used to remove fluid by means of atmospheric pressure from a cavity or reservoir at one end of the tube over a barrier and out the other end.
  1. To draw off or convey through a siphon.
  2. To pass through a siphon.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

syphon in Science


  1. A pipe or tube in the form of an upside-down U, filled with liquid and arranged so that the pressure of the atmosphere forces liquid to flow upward from a container through the tube, over a barrier, and into a lower container.
  2. A tubular animal part, as of a clam, through which water is taken in or expelled.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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