[ noo-mat-ik, nyoo- ]
/ nʊˈmæt ɪk, nyʊ- /
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a pneumatic tire.
a vehicle having wheels with such tires.
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Origin of pneumatic

First recorded in 1650–60; from Latin pneumaticus “pertaining to air; powered by wind or air,” from Greek pneumatikós “pertaining to air, breath or wind; powered by wind or air; spiritual,” equivalent to pneumat- (stem of pneûma) + -ikos; see origin at pneuma,-ic


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does pneumatic mean?

Pneumatic means filled with or operated by compressed air.

In general, pneumatic means related to air or wind, and pneumatics is the branch of physics that deals with the properties of air. But the adjective pneumatic is most commonly applied to machines that work by using compressed air or a vacuum, like pneumatic brakes or a pneumatic drill (also called a jackhammer).

Example: The bank uses a pneumatic tube so you can deposit your checks without going in.

Where does pneumatic come from?

The first records of pneumatic come from the 1600s. It comes from the Latin pneumaticus, which is from the Greek pneumatikós, meaning “air,” “breath,” or “spirit.” The root pneum- and similar roots are used in words related to wind or the lungs, such as pneumonia.

Machines that are powered by air are sometimes labeled air-powered, but devices called pneumatic usually work with compressed air. Such machines typically work by transmission force through air pressure in pipes or tubes. For example, pneumatic tubes were once popular for transporting document-filled containers throughout a building. In this system, things like mail, checks, and other small objects could be sent quickly from one part of an office building to another by placing the item in a container and then placing the container inside the tube, where it would be whisked away by the power of air. Car tires and bicycle tires are sometimes called pneumatic tires because they’re filled with compressed air.

Machines and systems that operate through the pressure created by water or another liquid are called hydraulic. A machine that uses a combination of pneumatic and hydraulic power is called pneudraulic.

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What are some other forms related to pneumatic?

  • pneumatically (adverb)
  • pneumaticity (noun)
  • nonpneumatic (adjective)
  • nonpneumatically (adverb)

What are some synonyms for pneumatic?

  • air-powered

What are some words that share a root or word element with pneumatic


What are some words that often get used in discussing pneumatic?

How is pneumatic used in real life?

Pneumatic is almost always used in a mechanical sense, the same as one would discuss hydraulics or pulley systems. The spiritual use will be used in deeply thought out theological discussion.



Try using pneumatic!

Is pneumatic used correctly in the following sentence?

I can barely hear myself think over the sound of the pneumatic drill.

How to use pneumatic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pneumatic

/ (njʊˈmætɪk) /

short for pneumatic tyre

Derived forms of pneumatic

pneumatically, adverb

Word Origin for pneumatic

C17: from Late Latin pneumaticus of air or wind, from Greek pneumatikos of air or breath, from pneuma
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

Medical definitions for pneumatic

[ nōō-mătĭk ]

Of or relating to air or other gases.
Relating to respiration.
Relating to a structure that is filled with air.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for pneumatic

[ nōō-mătĭk ]

Relating to gases, especially air.
Filled with or operated by compressed air. Pneumatic machines often involve the transmission of force through air pressure in pipes or tubes. See also hydraulic.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.