1. a hollow cylinder of metal, wood, or other material, used for the conveyance of water, gas, steam, petroleum, etc.
  2. a tube of wood, clay, hard rubber, or other material, with a small bowl at one end, used for smoking tobacco, opium, etc.
  3. a quantity, as of tobacco, that fills the bowl of such a smoking utensil.
  4. Music.
    1. a tube used as, or to form an essential part of, a musical wind instrument.
    2. a musical wind instrument consisting of a single tube of straw, reed, wood, or other material, as a flute, clarinet, or oboe.
    3. one of the wooden or metal tubes from which the tones of an organ are produced.
    4. a small end-blown flute played with one hand while the other beats a small drum.
  5. Nautical.
    1. boatswain's pipe.
    2. the sound of a boatswain's pipe.
  6. the call or utterance of a bird, frog, etc.
  7. pipes, Informal. the human vocal cords or the voice, especially as used in singing.
  8. Usually pipes.
    1. Music.bagpipe.
    2. a set of flutes, as a panpipe.
    3. Informal.a tubular organ or passage of a human or animal body, especially a respiratory passage: to complain of congested pipes.
  9. any of various tubular or cylindrical objects, parts, or formations, as an eruptive passage of a volcano or geyser.
  10. Mining.
    1. a cylindrical vein or body of ore.
    2. (in South Africa) a vertical, cylindrical matrix, of intrusive igneous origin, in which diamonds are found.
  11. Metallurgy. a depression occurring at the center of the head of an ingot as a result of the tendency of solidification to begin at the bottom and sides of the ingot mold.
  12. Botany. the stem of a plant.
verb (used without object), piped, pip·ing.
  1. to play on a pipe.
  2. Nautical. to signal, as with a boatswain's pipe.
  3. to speak in a high-pitched or piercing tone.
  4. to make or utter a shrill sound like that of a pipe: songbirds piping at dawn.
verb (used with object), piped, pip·ing.
  1. to convey by or as by pipes: to pipe water from the lake.
  2. to supply with pipes.
  3. to play (music) on a pipe or pipes.
  4. to summon, order, etc., by sounding the boatswain's pipe or whistle: all hands were piped on deck.
  5. to bring, lead, etc., by or as by playing on a pipe: to pipe dancers.
  6. to utter in a shrill tone: to pipe a command.
  7. to trim or finish with piping, as an article of clothing.
  8. Cookery. to force (dough, frosting, etc.) through a pastry tube onto a baking sheet, cake or pie, etc.
  9. Informal. to convey by an electrical wire or cable: to pipe a signal from the antenna.
  10. Slang. to look at; notice: Pipe the cat in the hat.
Verb Phrases
  1. pipe down, Slang. to stop talking; be quiet: He shouted at us to pipe down.
  2. pipe up,
    1. to begin to play (a musical instrument) or to sing.
    2. to make oneself heard; speak up, especially as to assert oneself.
    3. to increase in velocity, as the wind.

Origin of pipe

before 1000; (noun) Middle English, Old English pīpe musical pipe, tube (cognate with Dutch pijp, Low German pīpe, German Pfeife, Old Norse pīpa) < Vulgar Latin *pīpa, derivative of Latin pīpāre to chirp, play a pipe; (v.) Middle English pipen; in part continuing Old English pīpian to play a pipe < Latin pīpāre; in part < Old French piper to make a shrill sound < Latin pīpāre (cf. peep2)
Related formspipe·less, adjectivepipe·like, adjectiveun·piped, adjective

Synonyms for pipe

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for piped

Contemporary Examples of piped

Historical Examples of piped

  • "I forgive thee from my heart, dear brother," piped the blind man.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • "Not all skill—not all skill," piped the metallic voice, indistinctly.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • "But that would be unsanitary," piped a voice from the back of the room.

  • "Smash him, Sam—smash in his nut for him," piped the smallest Micky cheerfully.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • Whenever she piped "James" her brother had to drop everything and report on deck.

    Cape Cod Stories

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for piped


  1. a long tube of metal, plastic, etc, used to convey water, oil, gas, etc
  2. a long tube or case
    1. an object made in any of various shapes and sizes, consisting of a small bowl with an attached tubular stem, in which tobacco or other substances are smoked
    2. (as modifier)a pipe bowl
  3. Also called: pipeful the amount of tobacco that fills the bowl of a pipe
  4. zoology botany any of various hollow organs, such as the respiratory passage of certain animals
    1. any musical instrument whose sound production results from the vibration of an air column in a simple tube
    2. any of the tubular devices on an organ, in which air is made to vibrate either directly, as in a flue pipe, or by means of a reed
  5. an obsolete three-holed wind instrument, held in the left hand while played and accompanied by the taborSee tabor
  6. the pipes See bagpipes
  7. a shrill voice or sound, as of a bird
    1. a boatswain's pipe
    2. the sound it makes
  8. (plural) informal the respiratory tract or vocal cords
  9. metallurgy a conical hole in the head of an ingot, made by escaping gas as the metal cools
  10. a cylindrical vein of rich ore, such as one of the vertical diamond-bearing veins at Kimberley, South Africa
  11. Also called: volcanic pipe a vertical cylindrical passage in a volcano through which molten lava is forced during eruption
  12. US slang something easy to do, esp a simple course in college
  13. put that in your pipe and smoke it informal accept that fact if you can
  1. to play (music) on a pipe
  2. (tr) to summon or lead by a pipeto pipe the dancers
  3. to utter (something) shrilly
    1. to signal orders to (the crew) by a boatswain's pipe
    2. (tr)to signal the arrival or departure ofto pipe the admiral aboard
  4. (tr) to convey (water, gas, etc) by a pipe or pipes
  5. (tr) to provide with pipes
  6. (tr) to trim (an article, esp of clothing) with piping
  7. (tr) to force (cream, icing, etc) through a shaped nozzle to decorate food
See also pipe down, pipe up
Derived Formspipeless, adjectivepipy, adjective

Word Origin for pipe

Old English pīpe (n), pīpian (vb), ultimately from Latin pīpāre to chirp


  1. a large cask for wine, oil, etc
  2. a measure of capacity for wine equal to four barrels. 1 pipe is equal to 126 US gallons or 105 Brit gallons
  3. a cask holding this quantity with its contents

Word Origin for pipe

C14: via Old French (in the sense: tube, tubular vessel), ultimately from Latin pīpāre to chirp; compare pipe 1
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 piped



Old English pipe "musical wind instrument," also "tube to convey water," from Vulgar Latin *pipa "a pipe, tube-shaped musical instrument" (source of Italian pipa, French pipe, Old Frisian pipe, German Pfeife, Danish pibe, Swedish pipa, Dutch pijp), a back-formation from Latin pipare "to chirp or peep," of imitative origin. All tubular senses ultimately derive from "small reed, whistle." Meaning "device for smoking" first recorded 1590s. Pipe-bomb attested from 1960. Pipe-cleaner recorded from 1863.



Old English pipian "to play on a pipe," from Latin pipare "to peep, chirp" (see pipe (n.1)). Cf. Dutch pijpen, German pfeifen. Meaning "convey through pipes" is first recorded 1887. Related: Piped; piping. Piping hot is in Chaucer, a reference to hissing of food in a frying pan; to pipe up (early 15c.) originally meant "to begin to play" (on a musical instrument); sense of "to speak out" is from 1856. Pipe down "be quiet" is from 1900; earlier in nautical jargon it meant "use a boatswain's whistle to dismiss the men from duty" (1833).



type of cask, early 14c., from Old French pipe "liquid measure, cask for wine," from a special use of Vulgar Latin *pipa "pipe" (see pipe (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

piped in Science


  1. A vertical cylindrical vein of ore.
  2. See volcanic pipe.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with piped


In addition to the idioms beginning with pipe

  • pipe down
  • pipe dream
  • pipe up

also see:

  • in the pipeline
  • lead-pipe cinch
  • put that in your pipe
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.