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noun, plural chim·neys.
  1. a structure, usually vertical, containing a passage or flue by which the smoke, gases, etc., of a fire or furnace are carried off and by means of which a draft is created.
  2. the part of such a structure that rises above a roof.
  3. Now Rare. the smokestack or funnel of a locomotive, steamship, etc.
  4. a tube, usually of glass, surrounding the flame of a lamp to promote combustion and keep the flame steady.
  5. Geology.
    1. the vent of a volcano.
    2. a narrow vertical fissure between two rock faces or in a rock formation.
  6. Mining. a nearly vertical cylindrical oreshoot.
  7. British Dialect. fireplace.
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verb (used with object), chim·neyed, chim·ney·ing.
  1. Mountain Climbing. to ascend or descend (a chimney) by repeated bracing of one's feet or back and feet against opposite walls.
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verb (used without object), chim·neyed, chim·ney·ing.
  1. Mountain Climbing. to ascend or descend a chimney.
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Origin of chimney

1300–50; Middle English chimenai < Middle French cheminee < Latin (camera) camīnāta (room) having a fireplace, equivalent to camīn(us) (< Greek kámīnos furnace) + -āta -ate1
Related formschim·ney·less, adjectivechim·ney·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for chimney


  1. a vertical structure of brick, masonry, or steel that carries smoke or steam away from a fire, engine, etc
  2. another name for flue 1 (def. 1)
  3. short for chimney stack
  4. an open-ended glass tube fitting around the flame of an oil or gas lamp in order to exclude draughts
  5. British a fireplace, esp an old and large one
  6. geology
    1. a cylindrical body of an ore, which is usually oriented vertically
    2. the vent of a volcano
  7. mountaineering a vertical fissure large enough for a person's body to enter
  8. anything resembling a chimney in shape or function
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French cheminée, from Late Latin camīnāta, from Latin camīnus furnace, from Greek kaminos fireplace, oven
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 chimney


late 13c., "furnace;" early 14c., "chimney stack of a fireplace;" late 14c., "fireplace in a residential space;" from Old French cheminee "fireplace; room with a fireplace; hearth; chimney stack" (12c., Modern French cheminée), from Late Latin (camera) caminata "fireplace; room with a fireplace," from Latin caminatus, adjective of caminus "furnace, forge; hearth, oven; flue," from Greek kaminos "furnace, oven, brick kiln." Jamieson [1808] notes that in vulgar use in Scotland it always is pronounced "chimley." Chimney sweep attested from 1610s, earlier chimney sweeper (c.1500).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

chimney in Science


  1. An elongated opening in a volcano through which magma reaches the Earth's surface.
  2. A stack of minerals that have precipitated out of a hydrothermal vent on the floor of a sea or ocean. See more at hydrothermal vent.
  3. An isolated column of rock along a coastline, formed by the erosion of a sea cliff by waves. Chimneys are smaller than stacks.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.