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[chim-nee] /ˈtʃɪm ni/
noun, plural chimneys.
a structure, usually vertical, containing a passage or flue by which the smoke, gases, etc., of a fire or furnace are carried off and by means of which a draft is created.
the part of such a structure that rises above a roof.
Now Rare. the smokestack or funnel of a locomotive, steamship, etc.
a tube, usually of glass, surrounding the flame of a lamp to promote combustion and keep the flame steady.
  1. the vent of a volcano.
  2. a narrow vertical fissure between two rock faces or in a rock formation.
Mining. a nearly vertical cylindrical oreshoot.
British Dialect, fireplace.
verb (used with object), chimneyed, chimneying.
Mountain Climbing. to ascend or descend (a chimney) by repeated bracing of one's feet or back and feet against opposite walls.
verb (used without object), chimneyed, chimneying.
Mountain Climbing. to ascend or descend a chimney.
1300-50; Middle English chimenai < Middle French cheminee < Latin (camera) camīnāta (room) having a fireplace, equivalent to camīn(us) (< Greek kámīnos furnace) + -āta -ate1
Related forms
chimneyless, adjective
chimneylike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for chimney
  • chimney swifts adapted to settlement by nesting in our smokestack.
  • Make sure your chimney is properly capped so that nothing decides to nest in there while you're away.
  • Explore the roof, with its whimsical chimney towers, and the apartment restored in the style of the period.
  • The metals also deposit around the vent, creating a kind of chimney.
  • Fastest way we've found to light gourmet charcoal without a chimney.
  • The flue from a boiler to the chimney should be the same size as the chimney flue itself.
  • Soon my chimney stove will have to be lit each morning for creature comforts.
  • The house's fireplace and chimney sat atop the old well.
  • IE solar panels and perhaps a wind turbine on a chimney that shouldn't be used for fire.
  • New furnaces that use outside air for combustion and dont need a chimney reduce air infiltration.
British Dictionary definitions for chimney


a vertical structure of brick, masonry, or steel that carries smoke or steam away from a fire, engine, etc
another name for flue1 (sense 1)
short for chimney stack
an open-ended glass tube fitting around the flame of an oil or gas lamp in order to exclude draughts
(Brit) a fireplace, esp an old and large one
  1. a cylindrical body of an ore, which is usually oriented vertically
  2. the vent of a volcano
(mountaineering) a vertical fissure large enough for a person's body to enter
anything resembling a chimney in shape or function
Word Origin
C14: from Old French cheminée, from Late Latin camīnāta, from Latin camīnus furnace, from Greek kaminos fireplace, oven
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
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Word Origin and History for chimney

late 13c., "furnace;" early 14c., "chimney stack of a fireplace;" late 14c., "fireplace in a residential space;" from Old French cheminee "fireplace; room with a fireplace; hearth; chimney stack" (12c., Modern French cheminée), from Late Latin (camera) caminata "fireplace; room with a fireplace," from Latin caminatus, adjective of caminus "furnace, forge; hearth, oven; flue," from Greek kaminos "furnace, oven, brick kiln." Jamieson [1808] notes that in vulgar use in Scotland it always is pronounced "chimley." Chimney sweep attested from 1610s, earlier chimney sweeper (c.1500).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chimney in Science
  1. An elongated opening in a volcano through which magma reaches the Earth's surface.

  2. A stack of minerals that have precipitated out of a hydrothermal vent on the floor of a sea or ocean. See more at hydrothermal vent.

  3. An isolated column of rock along a coastline, formed by the erosion of a sea cliff by waves. Chimneys are smaller than stacks.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for chimney

structure designed to carry off smoke from a fireplace or furnace. A chimney also induces and maintains a draft that provides air to the fire

Learn more about chimney with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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