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piston

[pis-tuh n] /ˈpɪs tən/
noun
1.
a disk or cylindrical part tightly fitting and moving within a cylinder, either to compress or move a fluid collected in the cylinder, as air or water, or to transform energy imparted by a fluid entering or expanding inside the cylinder, as compressed air, explosive gases, or steam, into a rectilinear motion usually transformed into rotary motion by means of a connecting rod.
2.
a pumplike valve used to change the pitch in a cornet or the like.
Origin
1695-1705
1695-1705; < French < Italian pistone piston, a learned alteration of pestone large pestle, equivalent to pest(are) to pound (variant of Medieval Latin pistare, derivative of Latin pīstus past participle of pīnsere to pound) + -one augmentative suffix
Related forms
pistonlike, adjective
subpiston, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for pistonlike

piston

/ˈpɪstən/
noun
1.
a disc or cylindrical part that slides to and fro in a hollow cylinder. In an internal-combustion engine it is forced to move by the expanding gases in the cylinder head and is attached by a pivoted connecting rod to a crankshaft or flywheel, thus converting reciprocating motion into rotation
Word Origin
C18: via French from Old Italian pistone, from pistare to pound, grind, from Latin pinsere to crush, beat
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 pistonlike

piston

n.

1704, from French piston, from Middle French piston "large pestle," from Old Italian pistone "a piston," variant of pestone "a pestle," from pestare "to pound," from Late Latin pistare, frequentative of Latin pinsere (past participle pistus) "to pound" (see pestle). As a verb from 1930.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pistonlike in Science
piston
  (pĭs'tən)   

A solid cylinder or disk that fits snugly into a hollow cylinder and moves back and forth under the pressure of a fluid (typically a hot gas formed by combustion, as in many engines), or moves or compresses a fluid, as in a pump or compressor.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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