or sy·phon

[ sahy-fuhn ]
See synonyms for: siphonsiphonedsiphoning on

  1. 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.

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

verb (used with or without object)
  1. 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

Other words from siphon

  • si·phon·al, si·phon·ic [sahy-fon-ik], /saɪˈfɒn ɪk/, adjective
  • si·phon·less, adjective
  • si·phon·like, adjective
  • pseu·do·si·phon·al, adjective
  • pseu·do·si·phon·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use siphon in a sentence

  • Ceramiace—Frond thread-like, jointed, one-siphoned, and more or less covered with a layer of cortical cells.

    The Sea Shore | William S. Furneaux
  • Its weight may be inferred from the fact that it can be siphoned, or poured like water, from one vessel downward into another.

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

    The Potter's Craft | Charles F. Binns
  • The clear water on top is siphoned off and the paste dried sufficiently to handle.

British Dictionary definitions for siphon



/ (ˈsaɪfən) /

  1. 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

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

  1. (often foll by off) to pass or draw off through or as if through a siphon

Origin of siphon

C17: from Latin sīphō, from Greek siphōn siphon

Derived forms of siphon

  • siphonage, noun
  • siphonal or siphonic (saɪˈfɒnɪk), adjective

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

Scientific definitions for siphon


[ fən ]

  1. 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.

  2. 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.