[vak-yoom, -yoo-uhm, -yuhm]
noun, plural vacuums for 1, 2, 4–6, vacua [vak-yoo-uh] , 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.
a vacuum cleaner or sweeper.
Physics. a state of lowest energy in a quantum field theory.
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 use a vacuum cleaner on; clean with a vacuum cleaner: to vacuum rugs.
to treat with any vacuum device, as a vacuum drier.
verb (used without object)
to use a vacuum cleaner: to vacuum in the dining room.

1540–50; < Latin, neuter of vacuus empty

nonvacuum, adjective, noun, plural nonvacuums, nonvacua. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To vacuuming
World English Dictionary
vacuum (ˈvækjʊəm)
n , pl vacuums, vacua
1.  Compare plenum a region containing no matter; free space
2.  a region in which gas is present at a low pressure
3.  the degree of exhaustion of gas within an enclosed space: a high vacuum; a perfect vacuum
4.  a sense or feeling of emptiness: his death left a vacuum in her life
5.  short for vacuum cleaner
6.  (modifier) of, containing, measuring, producing, or operated by a low gas pressure: a vacuum tube; a vacuum brake
7.  to clean (something) with a vacuum cleaner: to vacuum a carpet
[C16: from Latin: an empty space, from vacuus empty]

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

1550, "emptiness of space," from L. vacuum "an empty space, void," noun use of neuter of vacuus "empty," related to vacare "be empty" (see vain). Properly a loan-translation of Gk. xenon, lit. "that which is empty." Meaning "a place emptied of air" is attested from 1652. Vacuum
tube is attested from 1859. Vacuum cleaner is from 1903; shortened form vacuum (n.) first recorded 1910. The verb meaning "to clean with a vacuum cleaner" is recorded from 1922.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

vacuum vac·u·um (vāk'yōō-əm, -yōōm, -yəm)
n. pl. vac·u·ums or vac·u·a (-yōō-ə)

  1. Absence of matter.

  2. A space empty of matter.

  3. A space relatively empty of matter.

  4. 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.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
vacuum   (vāk'ym)  Pronunciation Key 
Plural vacuums or vacuua
  1. A region of space in which there is no matter.

  2. 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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

vacuum definition

The absence of matter.

Note: In the natural world, air will flow into regions of vacuum, giving rise to the saying “Nature abhors a vacuum.”
Note: 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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
It does a fabulous job on the daily chore of sweeping or vacuuming.
Will clean rooms including vacuuming, mopping, sweeping and dusting.
Follow the same vacuuming procedure as with the furniture.
Vacuuming should be the last cleaning chore you do because the floor is the lowest point in the house.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature