• WordNet 3.6
    • n piston mechanical device that has a plunging or thrusting motion
    • n Piston United States neoclassical composer (1894-1976)
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Piston (Mach) A sliding piece which either is moved by, or moves against, fluid pressure. It usually consists of a short cylinder fitting within a cylindrical vessel along which it moves, back and forth. It is used in steam engines to receive motion from the steam, and in pumps to transmit motion to a fluid; also for other purposes.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n piston In machinery, a movable piece, generally of a cylindrical form, so fitted as to fill the sectional area of a tube, such as the barrel of a pump or the cylinder of a steam-engine, and capable of being driven alternately in two directions by pressure on one or the other of its sides. One of its sides is fitted to a rod, called the piston-rod, to which it imparts reciprocatory motion, as in the steam-engine, where the motion given to the piston-rod is communicated to the machinery, or by which, on the other hand, it is itself made to move, as in the pump. Two sorts of pistons are used in pumps —one hollow with a valve, used in the suction-pump, and the other solid, which is employed in the force-pump. The latter is also called a plunger.
    • n piston In musical wind-instruments of the trumpet family, one of the forms of valve whereby a crook is temporarily added to the tube and the pitch of the tones altered. It is operated by depressing a finger-knob, and thus pushing a plunger into a cylinder. The plunger has channels for changing the direction of the air-column. Pistons have been applied to various instruments, but especially to the cornet, which is therefore called the cornet-à-pistons.
    • n piston In organ-building, a thumb-knob which may be pushed in like a piston, whereby some change in registration is pneumatically effected; a pneumatic coupler or combination knob.
    • n piston The central retractile part of the acetabulum or sucker of a cephalopod, whose action in producing a vacuum resembles that of the piston of an air-pump.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Piston pis′tun a circular plate of metal, or other material, used in pumps, steam-engines, &c., fitting and moving up and down within a tube or hollow cylinder
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. piston,; cf. It. pistone, piston, also pestone, a large pestle; all fr. L. pinsere, pistum, to pound, to stamp. See Pestle Pistil
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—It. pistonepesto, to pound—L. pinsĕre, pistum.


In literature:

His gun had come to his shoulder like the piston-rod of an engine.
"The Double Four" by E. Phillips Oppenheim
Anderson swept past; his chin up, his legs working like piston-rods.
"Anderson Crow, Detective" by George Barr McCutcheon
The crowd of hoodlums had got a set-back from the boy with the piston-rod arm, it seemed.
"Ralph on the Overland Express" by Allen Chapman
The power of the piston is in the push of the accumulated steam.
"A Man's Value to Society" by Newell Dwight Hillis
His arms were working like slowly moving piston-rods of an engine, that is capable of great speed.
"Sunlight Patch" by Credo Fitch Harris
The cylinder-end cover should be left until the piston-rod and piston are made.
"Boys' Book of Model Boats" by Raymond Francis Yates
Denberg turned to meet him and the doctor's fist shot out like a piston rod.
"Poisoned Air" by Sterner St. Paul Meek
The diameter of piston is four inches and the length of stroke is six inches.
"Rural Hygiene" by Henry N. Ogden
Their chemical combining made them expand; by pushing the piston out of its way the newly formed gas suddenly freed itself.
"Common Science" by Carleton W. Washburne
The horse's shoulders felt like pistons working under a cloth.
"Dwellers in the Hills" by Melville Davisson Post

In poetry:

What I love is
The piston in motion . . .
My soul dies before it.
And the hooves of the horses,
There merciless churn.
"Years" by Sylvia Plath
Perhaps some childish hour has come again,
When I watched fearful, through the blackening rain,
Their hooves like pistons in an ancient mill
Move up and down, yet seem as standing still.
"Horses" by Edwin Muir
Then - when needles move more slowly on the cloth
And sweaty fingers slacken
And hair falls in damp wisps over the eyes - Sped by some power within,
Sadie quivers like a rod…
A thin black piston flying,
One with her machine.
"The Ghetto" by Lola Ridge
Then out into a morning all summer warmth and blue!
By the breathing of her pistons, by the purring of the screw,
By the springy dip and tremor as she rises, you can tell
Her heart is light and easy as she meets the lazy swell.
"White Nassau" by Bliss William Carman
Kangaroo bounded away, his back-legs working like pistons—
Bounded from morning till dark, twenty-five feet at a bound.
Yellow-Dog Dingo lay like a yellow cloud in the distance—
Much too busy to bark. My! but they covered the ground!
"The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo" by Rudyard Kipling

In news:

AP Photo When on the court together, Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum and Ben Gordon are doing some major damage for the Detroit Pistons.
Flip Saunders told WDFN-AM Detroit that he wasn't trying to get ejected from the game, as some coaches will do, but was to the point where he felt the Pistons were simply getting a raw deal from the officiating crew.
Detroit Pistons 'Ask David' questions: Are Pistons subservient to Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Detroit Pistons aren't tanking , they just don't have a closer.
Mavs put on a show for soldiers with 92-77 thumping of Pistons.
He signs $80-million extension, then scores 37 points to lead Rockets over Pistons.
Tie-rod and welded cylinders feature iron pistons.
Detroit Pistons' Andre Drummond has found a time-tested mentor in teammate Corey Maggette.
On Tuesday, March 30, 2010, Belle Tire is hosting the first ever Tire Man Tweetup featuring Detroit Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko.
Pistons to buy out Rip Hamilton.
The Detroit Pistons have decided to part ways with Richard Hamilton.
Jamie Samuelsen's blog: If only it were easy for Pistons to buy out Richard Hamilton's contract.
Rip Hamilton to come off Detroit Pistons' bench.
We may never know exactly what happened at Pistons' practice earlier this week.
If Louisville's Earl Clark slips, he might be too good for Pistons to pass on .

In science:

In the slow shock calculations considered here, a magnetized plasma is flowing toward a piston that reflects the particles. A switch off slow shock is considered, and the component of the magnetic field perpendicular to the normal of the piston is set to zero.
Adaptive Multi-Dimensional Particle In Cell
Crossing does not change injection significantly, but adds a 7.5 mm piston.
AMBER Task Force February 2008 run report
However we think it would be possible to make the P2VM calibration process unsensitive to the piston so that this problem should not be a problem.
AMBER Task Force February 2008 run report
Furthermore the visibility of the 1-2 and 2-3 fringes will vary as a function of piston and will change as the fourier transform of each spectral channel shape.
AMBER Task Force February 2008 run report
It shows the maximum piston measurable with the Low JHK spectral resolution in case of good S/N.
AMBER Task Force February 2008 run report