• WordNet 3.6
    • v vacuum clean with a vacuum cleaner "vacuum the carpets"
    • n vacuum an electrical home appliance that cleans by suction
    • n vacuum a region that is devoid of matter
    • n vacuum an empty area or space "the huge desert voids","the emptiness of outer space","without their support he'll be ruling in a vacuum"
    • n vacuum the absence of matter
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In 1905, Chapman and Skinner in San Francisco invented the first portable electric vacuum.
    • Vacuum (Physics) A space entirely devoid of matter (called also, by way of distinction, absolute vacuum); hence, in a more general sense, a space, as the interior of a closed vessel, which has been exhausted to a high or the highest degree by an air pump or other artificial means; as, water boils at a reduced temperature in a vacuum .
    • Vacuum The condition of rarefaction, or reduction of pressure below that of the atmosphere, in a vessel, as the condenser of a steam engine, which is nearly exhausted of air or steam, etc.; as, a vacuum of 26 inches of mercury, or 13 pounds per square inch.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The first hair dryer was a vacuum cleaner that was used for drying hair
    • n vacuum Empty space; space void of matter: opposed to plenum; in practical use, an inclosed space from which the air (or other gas) has been very nearly removed, as by an air-pump. The metaphysicians of Elea, Parmenides and Melissus, started the notion that a vacuum was impossible, and this became a favorite doctrine with Aristotle. All the scholastics upheld the maxim that “nature abhors a vacuum.” This is the doctrine of the plenists. Atomism, on the other hand, carried out in a thoroughgoing manner, supposes empty space between the atoms. That gases do not fill space homogeneously is now demonstrated by the phenomena of transfusion and by the impulsion of Crookes's radiometer; while the other observed facts about gases, taken in connection with these, render some form of the kinetical theory of gases almost certain. This supposes the molecules of gases to be at great distances from one another as compared with their spheres of sensible action. This, however, does not exclude, but rather favors, Boscovich's theory of atoms—namely, that atoms are mere movable centers of potential energy endowed with inertia; and this theory makes each atom extend throughout all space in a certain sense. But this does not constitute a plenum, for a plenum is the exclusive occupation of each part of space by a portion of matter. It may be said that the spaces between the atoms are filled by the luminiferous ether, which seems to be the substance of electricity; but the dispersion of light by refraction seems to show that the ether itself has a molecular structure. A vacuum, in the sense of a space devoid of ordinary ponderable matter, is produced (more or less perfectly) when the air is removed from an inclosed space, such as the receiver of an air-pump, a part of a barometric tube, etc. In the receiver of the ordinary airpump the vacuum can only be partial, since with each stroke of the piston only a certain fraction of the air is removed (depending upon the relative size of the cylinder and the receiver), and hence, theoretically, an infinite number of strokes would be necessary. Practically, the degree of exhaustion obtained falls short of that demanded by theory, owing to the imperfections of the machine; thus, in the common form, the exhaustion is limited to the point where the remaining air has not sufficient elasticity to raise the valves. By the Sprengel or mercury air-pump a much more perfect degree of exhaustion is attainable than with the mechanical form. (See mercury air-pump, under mercury.) The most perfect vacuum is obtained when chemical means are employed to absorb the last traces of gas left in the receiver exhausted by the mercury airpump. The Torricellian vacuum—that is, the space above the mercury in a carefully manipulated barometer-tube—is more nearly perfect in this respect, but the space contains a small amount of the vapor of mercury. See Torricellian.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Hills Brothers Ground Vacuum Packed Coffee was first introduced in 1900.
    • Vacuum vacant or empty space: a space empty or devoid of all matter:—pl. Vac′ūa
    • ***


  • Theodore Roosevelt
    “The American people abhor a vacuum.”
  • Gaston Bachelard
    “Reverie is not a mind vacuum. It is rather the gift of an hour which knows the plenitude of the soul.”
  • Saul Bellow
    Saul Bellow
    “Goodness is achieved not in a vacuum, but in the company of other men, attended by love.”
  • Bishop Desmond Tutu
    Bishop Desmond Tutu
    “I am a leader by default, only because nature does not allow a vacuum.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Nature abhors a vacuum. When a head lacks brains, nature fills it with conceit.”
  • Ernest Hemingway
    “A beautiful vacuum filled with wealthy monogamists, all powerful and members of the best families all drinking themselves to death.”


Nature abhors a vacuum - This idiom is used to express the idea that empty or unfilled spaces are unnatural as they go against the laws of nature and physics.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L., fr. vacuus, empty. See Vacuous
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. vacuus, empty.


In literature:

I think one would die soon and easily underground, as creatures in a vacuum, for the will to live has so little to nourish itself on.
"Pieces of Eight" by Richard le Gallienne
A lifting injector will create sufficient vacuum to raise the water from the level of the tank.
"The Traveling Engineers' Association" by Anonymous
Thus, nothing is easier than to argue in the vacuum he creates about his readers.
"Boer Politics" by Yves Guyot
Otherwise," he added, "I might have been badly cut by slivers of glass from the exploding vacuum tubes.
"Tom Swift and The Visitor from Planet X" by Victor Appleton
Into the vacuum which the silence makes, the stream of our little history pours in a long backwater.
"Uppingham by the Sea a Narrative of the Year at Borth" by John Henry Skrine
Maids with mops and men with vacuums!
"The Tin Soldier" by Temple Bailey
There was no need for streamlining in the vacuum of space.
"Rip Foster in Ride the Gray Planet" by Harold Leland Goodwin
We fail of all basis of observation; and reason works in a vacuum.
"The Heavenly Father" by Ernest Naville
The air was oppressive and you felt difficulty in breathing, as if you were in a vacuum.
"With Our Soldiers in France" by Sherwood Eddy
We know of nothing so empty and hollow, so near a vacuum, as matter in this conception of it.
"The Breath of Life" by John Burroughs

In poetry:

There is the smile of vacancy,
Expressionless, we find
On idiot physiognomy,
The vacuum of a mind.
"Smiles." by Alfred Castner King
My Conscience would my Will withstand,
Did Will project a world like this:
Better Eternal vacuum still,
Than murder, lust, and heartlessness!
"The Door Of Humility" by Alfred Austin
"These held but little, but the fifth held less,-
Only blank vacuum, naked nothingness,
An idiot's portion. He who gave it knows
Its claimant nothing owes.
"But One Talent" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Missing you, I shed no tear
Finding absence burdensome.
Love beholds love everywhere
And abhors a vacuum.
With your presence mirrored so,
Leaving me, you do not go.
"Love’s Realism" by Vassar Miller
These tourists have eyes, the hundred watching the dance, white
Americans, hungrily too, with reverence, not laughter;
Pilgrims from civilization, anxiously seeking beauty, religion,
poetry; pilgrims from the vacuum.
"New Mexican Mountain" by Robinson Jeffers
Tumbling on steadily, nothing dreading,
Sunshine, storm, cold, heat, forever withstanding, passing, carrying,
The Soul's realization and determination still inheriting,
The fluid vacuum around and ahead still entering and dividing,
"Carol Of Words" by Walt Whitman

In news:

The stage is vacuumed as last minute preparations continue for President Barack Obama's election night party Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012, in Chicago.
So this is what those little robot vacuum cleaners are for.
Euroclean introduces the Hip Vac vacuuming, designed to make cleaning confined and cluttered areas easier to clean.
Nilfisk CFM has expanded its line of combustible dust vacuums with the new Nilfisk CFM 118/50EXP, designed to collect dry dust and debris in manufacturing facilities.
Take the pressure off vacuum systems.
IEDCO vacuum conveying system offers compactability and safety.
Vacuum Conveying Fills a Void.
The US fears al-Qaida filling the security vacuum in a distant, unfamiliar country with a weak government.
First, jurors heard about $90,000 stashed in a vacuum.
Needless to say, we're getting a new vacuum.
We've had this vacuum for years, and it is a champ of a machine.
Man caught in vacuum sex act gets 90 days.
Man caught having sex with vacuum.
A man police caught performing a sex act with a car wash vacuum has been sentenced to 90 days in prison.
The Remington Shredder Vac and Blower is a three-in-one tool featuring a two-speed blower, vacuum, and mulcher.

In science:

The description of this system in terms of the CFT with spin and twist fields leads us to consider the renormal ordering procedure from the SL(2, R) invariant vacuum to the oscillator vacuum.
Worldsheet and Spacetime Properties of p-p' System with B Field and Noncommutative Geometry
We evaluate two distinct two-point functions on superspace and observe the importance of the renormal ordering procedure from the SL(2, R) invariant vacuum to the oscillator vacuum.
Worldsheet and Spacetime Properties of p-p' System with B Field and Noncommutative Geometry
SL(2, R)-invariant vacuum and the oscillator vacuum respectively.
Worldsheet and Spacetime Properties of p-p' System with B Field and Noncommutative Geometry
In the other directions we have a single type of vacuum, namely SL(2, R)-invariant vacuum.
Worldsheet and Spacetime Properties of p-p' System with B Field and Noncommutative Geometry
The vacuum noise 0 B ∗ (cid:19) , B B † = 1 . behind a mirror matters [110], and so do the vacuum fluctuations of modes prior to amplification.
Quantum Physics of Simple Optical Instruments