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[sahy-loh] /ˈsaɪ loʊ/
noun, plural silos.
a structure, typically cylindrical, in which fodder or forage is kept.
a pit or underground space for storing grain, green feeds, etc.
Military. an underground installation constructed of concrete and steel, designed to house a ballistic missile and the equipment for firing it.
verb (used with object), siloed, siloing.
to put into or preserve in a silo.
Origin of silo
1825-35; < Spanish: place for storing grain, hay, etc., orig. subterranean; ulterior origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for silos
  • From grain silos to abandoned hospitals, this gallery of short, stylish videos takes you on some surprising urban adventures.
  • Newly built versions come complete with porches, silos and turrets.
  • Above the silos are rectangular storage containers containing gray ash to protect them from pests.
  • In certain areas, you can measure distances by counting the silos.
  • Aside from looming coal silos and a few roads across the mesas, the underground mines make scant visible marks on the land.
  • From the sky, its four silos in an unusual stair-step row set the farm apart from its neighbors.
  • The murky floodwaters sloshed against farmhouses, telephone poles, towering silos.
  • Alongside the image of academic departments as barren silos is another image of interconnected knowledge-a web.
  • And that's also an excellent way to dismantle the silos that stood in the way of overall school unity.
  • If we're still teaching in academic silos, then no, we're not.
British Dictionary definitions for silos


noun (pl) -los
a pit, trench, horizontal container, or tower, often cylindrical in shape, in which silage is made and stored
a strengthened underground position in which missile systems are sited for protection against attack
Word Origin
C19: from Spanish, perhaps from Celtic
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 silos



1835, from Spanish silo, traditionally derived from Latin sirum (nominative sirus), from Greek siros "a pit to keep corn in." "The change from r to l in Spanish is abnormal and Greek siros was a rare foreign term peculiar to regions of Asia Minor and not likely to emerge in Castilian Spain" [Barnhart]. Alternatively, the Spanish word is from a pre-Roman Iberian language word represented by Basque zilo, zulo "dugout, cave or shelter for keeping grain." Meaning "underground housing and launch tube for a guided missile" is attested from 1958.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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