EXAMPLES | vacuum [ vak-yoom, -yoo- uh m, -y uh m] noun, plural vac·u·ums for 1, 2, 4–6, vac·u·a [ vak-yoo- uh] /ˈvæk yu ə/ for 1, 2, 4, 6. a space entirely devoid of matter. an enclosed space from which matter, especially air, has been partially removed so that the matter or gas remaining in the space exerts less pressure than the atmosphere (opposed to plenum). the state or degree of exhaustion in such an enclosed space. a space not filled or occupied; emptiness; void: The loss left a vacuum in his heart. . Physics a state of lowest energy in a quantum field theory. adjective of, pertaining to, employing, or producing a vacuum. (of a hollow container) partly exhausted of gas or air. pertaining to a device or process that makes use of a vacuum to accomplish a desired task. noting or pertaining to canning or packaging in which air is removed from the container to prevent deterioration of the contents. verb (used with object) to treat with any vacuum device, as a vacuum drier. verb (used without object) Origin of vacuum 1540–50; < Latin, neuter of vacuus empty Related forms non·vac·u·um, adjective, noun, plural non·vac·u·ums, non·vac·u·a.
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for vacua Historical Examples of vacua British Dictionary definitions for vacua noun plural vacuums or vacua ( ˈvækjʊə) a region in which gas is present at a low pressure the degree of exhaustion of gas within an enclosed space a high vacuum; a perfect vacuum a sense or feeling of emptiness his death left a vacuum in her life (modifier) of, containing, measuring, producing, or operated by a low gas pressure a vacuum tube; a vacuum brake verb to clean (something) with a vacuum cleaner to vacuum a carpet Word Origin for vacuum
C16: from Latin: an empty space, from
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for vacua v.
"to clean with a vacuum cleaner," 1922; see
vacuum (n.). Related: Vacuumed; vacuuming. n.
1540s, "emptiness of space," from Latin
vacuum "an empty space, void," noun use of neuter of vacuus "empty," related to vacare "be empty" (see vain). Properly a loan-translation of Greek kenon, literally "that which is empty." Meaning "a place emptied of air" is attested from 1650s. Vacuum tube is attested from 1859. Vacuum cleaner is from 1903; shortened form vacuum (n.) first recorded 1910.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Medicine definitions for vacua vacuum [văk ′yōō-əm, -yōōm, -yəm] n. pl. vac•u•ums Absence of matter. A space empty of matter. A space relatively empty of matter. A space in which the pressure is significantly lower than atmospheric pressure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Science definitions for vacua Plural vacuums vacuua A region of space in which there is no matter. A region of space having extremely low gas pressure relative to surrounding pressure. The air pump of a vacuum cleaner, for example, drastically reduces the air pressure inside the device, creating a vacuum; the pressure difference causes air to rush into it, carrying dust and debris along with it.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Culture definitions for vacua Note
In the natural world, air will flow into regions of vacuum, giving rise to the saying “Nature abhors a vacuum.”
The saying is extended informally: in politics, a lack of leadership may be referred to as a vacuum, which will presumably be filled by others rushing in.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.