Geometry. a surface or solid bounded by two parallel planes and generated by a straight line moving parallel to the given planes and tracing a curve bounded by the planes and lying in a plane perpendicular or oblique to the given planes.
any cylinderlike object or part, whether solid or hollow.
the rotating part of a revolver, containing the chambers for the cartridges.
(in a pump) a cylindrical chamber in which a piston slides to move or compress a fluid.
(in an engine) a cylindrical chamber in which the pressure of a gas or liquid moves a sliding piston.
a rotating cylinder that produces the impression and under which a flat form to be printed from passes.
either of two cylinders, one carrying a curved form or plate to be printed from, that rotate against each other in opposite directions.
(in certain locks) a cylindrical device for retaining the bolt until tumblers have been pushed out of its way.
(in a screw or cylindrical gear) an imaginary cylindrical form, concentric to the axis, defining the pitch or the inner or outer ends of the threads or teeth.
Computers. the tracks of a magnetic disk that are accessible from a single radial position of the access mechanism.
Textiles. the main roller on a carding machine, especially the roller covered with card clothing that works in combination with the worker and stripper rollers in carding fibers.
Archaeology. a cylindrical or somewhat barrel-shaped stone or clay object bearing a cuneiform inscription or a carved design, worn by the Babylonians, Assyrians, and kindred peoples as a seal and amulet.
verb (used with object)
to furnish with a cylinder or cylinders.
to subject to the action of a cylinder or cylinders.

1560–70; < Latin cylindrus < Greek kýlindros roller, cylinder, akin to kylíndein to roll

cylinderlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cylinder (ˈsɪlɪndə)
1.  a solid consisting of two parallel planes bounded by identical closed curves, usually circles, that are interconnected at every point by a set of parallel lines, usually perpendicular to the planes. Volume base area × length
2.  a surface formed by a line moving round a closed plane curve at a fixed angle to it
3.  any object shaped like a cylinder
4.  See also cylinder block the chamber in a reciprocating internal-combustion engine, pump, or compressor within which the piston moves
5.  the rotating mechanism of a revolver, situated behind the barrel and containing cartridge chambers
6.  printing any of the rotating drums on a printing press
7.  Also called: cylinder seal a cylindrical seal of stone, clay, or precious stone decorated with linear designs, found in the Middle East and Balkans: dating from about 6000 bc
8.  (Brit) Also called: hot-water cylinder a vertical cylindrical tank for storing hot water, esp an insulated one made of copper used in a domestic hot-water system
9.  firing on all cylinders working or performing at full capability
10.  (tr) to provide (a system) with cylinders
[C16: from Latin cylindrus, from Greek kulindros a roller, from kulindein to roll]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1560s, from M.Fr. cylindre,, from L. cylindrus "roller, cylinder," from Gk. kylindros "a cylinder, roller, roll," from kylindein "to roll."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

cylinder cyl·in·der (sĭl'ən-dər)

  1. The surface generated by a straight line intersecting and moving along a closed plane curve, the directrix, while remaining parallel to a fixed straight line that is not on or parallel to the plane of the directrix.

  2. A solid bounded by two parallel planes and such a surface, especially such a surface having a circle as its directrix.

  3. A cylindrical or rodlike renal cast.

  4. A cylindrical lens.

  5. A cylindrical metal container for gases stored under high pressure.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
cylinder   (sĭl'ən-dər)  Pronunciation Key 

(click for larger image in new window)

A three-dimensional surface or solid object bounded by a curved surface and two parallel circles of equal size at the ends. The curved surface is formed by all the line segments joining corresponding points of the two parallel circles.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Computing Dictionary

cylinder definition

The set of tracks on a multi-headed disk that may be accessed without head movement. That is, the collection of disk tracks which are the same distance from the spindle about which the disks rotate. Each such group forms the shape of a cylinder. Placing data that are likely to be accessed together in cylinders reduces the access significantly as head movement (seeking) is slow compared to disk rotation and switching between heads.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see firing on all cylinders.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The axis-cylinder processes of its cells form the motor root of the trigeminal
The cylinder can be reinstalled by following the procedure approximately in
It came in a long cylinder and had teeny-tiny chocolate chips and was out of
  this world.
When they impart a twist to the wire, the cylinder will rotate one way and then
  the other.
Idioms & Phrases
Images for cylinder
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