walter piston

Collins
World English Dictionary
piston (ˈpɪstən)
 
n
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
 
[C18: via French from Old Italian pistone, from pistare to pound, grind, from Latin pinsere to crush, beat]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

piston
1704, from Fr. piston, from M.Fr. piston "large pestle," from O.It. pistone, variant of pestone "a pestle," from pestare "to pound," from L.L. pistare, freq. of L. pinsere (pp. pistus) "to pound" (see pestle).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
piston   (pĭs'tən)  Pronunciation Key 


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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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