Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[vey-per] /ˈveɪ pər/
noun, verb (used with or without object), Chiefly British.
Usage note
See -or1.


[vey-per] /ˈveɪ pər/
a visible exhalation, as fog, mist, steam, smoke, or noxious gas, diffused through or suspended in the air:
the vapors rising from the bogs.
Physics. a gas at a temperature below its critical temperature.
a substance converted into vapor for technical or medicinal uses.
a combination of a vaporized substance and air.
gaseous particles of drugs that can be inhaled as a therapeutic agent.
  1. a strange, senseless, or fantastic notion.
  2. something insubstantial or transitory.
vapors, Archaic.
  1. mental depression or hypochondria.
  2. injurious exhalations formerly supposed to be produced within the body, especially in the stomach.
verb (used with object)
to cause to rise or pass off in, or as if in, vapor; vaporize.
Archaic. to affect with vapors; depress.
verb (used without object)
to rise or pass off in the form of vapor.
to emit vapor or exhalations.
to talk or act grandiloquently, pompously, or boastfully; bluster.
Also, especially British, vapour.
Origin of vapor
1325-75; Middle English vapour < Latin vapor steam
Related forms
vaporable, adjective
vaporability, noun
vaporer, noun
vaporless, adjective
vaporlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for vapour
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for vapour


particles of moisture or other substance suspended in air and visible as clouds, smoke, etc
a gaseous substance at a temperature below its critical temperature Compare gas (sense 3)
a substance that is in a gaseous state at a temperature below its boiling point
(rare) something fanciful that lacks substance or permanence
(archaic) the vapours, a depressed mental condition believed originally to be the result of vaporous exhalations from the stomach
to evaporate or cause to evaporate; vaporize
(intransitive) to make vain empty boasts; brag
Derived Forms
vapourable, (US) vaporable, adjective
vapourability, (US) vaporability, noun
vapourer, (US) vaporer, noun
vapourish, (US) vaporish, adjective
vapourless, (US) vaporless, adjective
vapour-like, (US) vapor-like, adjective
vapoury, (US) vapory, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin vapor


the US spelling of vapour
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for vapour



late 14c., from Anglo-French vapour, from Latin vaporem (nominative vapor) "exhalation, steam, heat," of unknown origin. Vapors "fit of fainting, hysteria, etc." is 1660s, from medieval notion of "exhalations" from the stomach or other organs affecting the brain.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
vapour in Medicine

vapor va·por (vā'pər)

  1. Barely visible or cloudy diffused matter, such as mist, fumes, or smoke, suspended in the air.

  2. The state of a substance that exists below its critical temperature and that may be liquefied by application of sufficient pressure.

  3. The gaseous state of a substance that is liquid or solid under ordinary conditions.

  4. The vaporized form of a medicinal preparation to be administered by inhalation.

  5. A mixture of a vapor and air, as an explosive mixture of gasoline and air burned in an internal-combustion engine.

  6. vapors Exhalations within an organ, especially the stomach, supposed to affect the mental or physical condition. No longer in technical use.

  7. vapors A nervous disorder such as depression or hysteria. No longer in technical use.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
vapour in Science
  1. The gaseous state of a substance that is normally liquid or solid at room temperature, such as water that has evaporated into the air. See more at vapor pressure, See also water vapor.

  2. A faintly visible suspension of fine particles of matter in the air, as mist, fumes, or smoke.

  3. A mixture of fine droplets of a substance and air, as the fuel mixture of an internal-combustion engine.

vaporize verb
Our Living Language  : The words vapor and steam usually call to mind a fine mist, such as that in the jet of water droplets near the spout of a boiling teakettle or in a bathroom after a shower. Vapor and steam, however, refer to the gaseous state of a substance. The fumes that arise when volatile substances such as alcohol and gasoline evaporate, for example, are vapors. The visible stream of water droplets rushing out of a teakettle spout is not steam. As the gaseous state of water heated past its boiling point, steam is invisible. Usually, there is a space of an inch or two between the spout and the beginning of the stream of droplets. This space contains steam. The steam loses its heat to the surrounding air, then falls below the boiling point and condenses in the air as water droplets. All liquids and solids give off vapors consisting of molecules that have evaporated from the substance. In a closed system, the vapor pressure of these molecules reaches an equilibrium at which the substance evaporates from the liquid (or solid) and recondenses on it in equal amounts.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for vapour

Difficulty index for vapour

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for vapour

Scrabble Words With Friends