or sy·phon

[sahy-fuh n]


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.
a projecting tubular part of some animals, especially certain mollusks, through which liquid enters or leaves the body.

verb (used with or without object)

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for siphoned

Contemporary Examples of siphoned

Historical Examples of siphoned

  • Could he have siphoned the water from one reservoir to the other?

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • The clear water is then siphoned or poured off and the glaze is ready for use.

    The Potter's Craft

    Charles F. Binns

  • The whole is well stirred from time to time for 48 hours, and the clear liquor is siphoned off from the precipitate.

  • Every few days some of the water was siphoned off through a piece of hose and fresh water run in.

  • When the other tank, which is below the level and to one side, gets full of water, the fluid is siphoned out.

British Dictionary definitions for siphoned




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
zoology any of various tubular organs in different aquatic animals, such as molluscs and elasmobranch fishes, through which a fluid, esp water, passes


(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 for siphon

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 siphoned



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

siphoned in Medicine




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.


To draw off or convey through a siphon.
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.

siphoned in Science



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.
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.