Definition of tube in English:



  • 1A long, hollow cylinder of metal, plastic, glass, etc. for holding or transporting something, chiefly liquids or gases.

    ‘a plastic tube is connected to the tap and the beer is ready to be pulled’
    • ‘Stock should be watered weekly; this can be facilitated by attaching a perforated tube to the end of a hose and inserting the tube into the bundles.’
    • ‘To perform this experiment a little oil of turpentine was placed at the bottom of a glass tube surrounded with boiling liquid air.’
    • ‘The idea is to use the plasma coating to line catheters - plastic tubes surgically inserted into the body so patients can rid themselves of waste products from the blood through a dialysis machine.’
    • ‘Catheters - small plastic tubes - are inserted into veins in the arm or leg to access the heart for procedures such as angioplasties and stent placements.’
    • ‘Root growth is observed daily through the transparent plastic tubes.’
    • ‘A plastic tube is inserted in the nostril and down into the stomach.’
    • ‘There were also racks of smaller tubes filled with clear and purple liquids and jars of empty plastic tubes.’
    • ‘In other news, Junior is feeding so well that he is free of plastic tubes.’
    • ‘Kim pulled out a small glass tube with liquid inside.’
    • ‘This metal tip transfers your body heat to the liquid inside the glass tube.’
    • ‘The radiologist connects a barium bag to the tube to deliver liquid barium into your colon.’
    • ‘He punctured my eardrum, drained the fluid and inserted a plastic tube.’
    • ‘This effect can also be seen when a liquid is in a tube such as a measuring cylinder.’
    • ‘He was going to do a tracheotomy, opening the throat and inserting a tube into the windpipe.’
    • ‘A straw itself will not hold up well to this experiment, so see if you can get a tube of glass or plastic.’
    • ‘The root system was submerged in nutrient solution, and a plastic tube was connected to the cut end of the stem to collect the fluid.’
    • ‘Anaesthesia usually begins when the anaesthetist injects a drug through a fine plastic tube inserted into a vein in the back of the hand.’
    • ‘From it emerges a plastic tube with a mask that fits over my nose.’
    • ‘The samples were stored refrigerated in plastic tubes without preservatives until further processing within 24 hours.’
    • ‘One end of the tube is connected to the cylinder, and its heat lights the fuel.’
    vent, flue, shaft, conduit, duct, channel, pipe, pipeline, passage
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The inner tube of a bicycle tyre.
      • ‘I then spent ten minutes changing the tube in my front tyre and looking faintly sheepish.’
      • ‘He had also had many requests for new tyres and tubes and other bicycle parts.’
      • ‘Also be sure to plan ahead for potential damage to your bike, whether it's a pinched tube or something else entirely.’
      • ‘Both tires off and new mountain bike tubes are put on.’
      • ‘So I'm 12 miles from home, with no spare tubes, a blown tyre, and no way of fixing it.’
      • ‘The shape can be chubbier - more like a truck tire than a bicycle tube - which lowers the cost for a given plasma volume.’
      • ‘Mount the new tire on any standard MTB wheel or rim you have around, using a tube.’
      • ‘It is especially common with tall bikes, particularly ones with small-diameter tubes.’
      • ‘Tyres and tubes were rationed but could be purchased on the black market at exorbitant prices.’
      • ‘They specialize in refurbishing tubular tires with new tubes.’
      • ‘I'd like to know the advantage of using tubeless tires and why one would use tubes with tubeless tires.’
      • ‘Barring the tyres and tubes, each part of his cycle, the valve, piston etc, was made of bamboo.’
      • ‘With theserims you can ride regular tubes and tyres and reduce rolling weight by up to 5lbs!’
      • ‘It ends up looking like some kind of snarling bicycle tube.’
    2. 1.2mass noun Material in a tubular form; tubing.
      ‘the firm manufactures steel tube for a wide variety of applications’
      • ‘This plane had a welded steel tube fuselage which became the industry standard.’
      • ‘The stools are made of mild steel sheet and tube using a construction method called spinning.’
      • ‘By mid-1931, Stanley launched a line of garden tools manufactured with all steel tube handles and stampings.’
      • ‘Two wide wing bracing struts were built from steel tube and balsa wood and fabric covered.’
      • ‘If weight continued to be an issue, it would be possible to substitute-aluminum tube for steel at the cross members or in the main frame rails.’
      • ‘Some had crudely welded steel tube frames and rudimentary suspensions.’
      • ‘Wing construction comprised two spruce spars with plywood ribs and steel tube and wire drag bracing.’
      • ‘The fuselage was built out of welded chrome-molybdenum steel tube with rod bracing and fabric covering.’
      • ‘The fuselage was of welded steel tube truss construction and was quite stout.’
      • ‘The helicopter has steel tube skid type landing gear.’
      • ‘Construction is ingenious and apt, with social areas in balloon frame, and steel tube columns in the pool space.’
      • ‘The design was interesting in the fact it utilized steel tube spars in the tapered wings and a plywood - covered fuselage.’
      • ‘Finally a small length of silicone tube locks the helicopter bead and tubing to the lower swivel of our up-trace.’
      • ‘The fuselage was steel tube with fabric and aluminum covering while the tail was welded steel tubing with fabric covering.’
      • ‘Black tube steel was sourced from local foundries, together with telegraph poles and guy wires which were donated by a power supplier.’
  • 2A thing in the form of or resembling a tube.

    • ‘Place one-half of the marinated foie gras on the bottom half of the cloth and roll tightly to form a tube, about four-inches in diameter.’
    • ‘Using the plastic wrap as a guide, tightly roll up the foie gras and shape it into a tube, about two inches in diameter.’
    • ‘The shell surrounds a large mantle cavity, and wraps around the viscera to form a tube.’
    • ‘Three works could be manipulated; the massed tubes formed a square or circle mounted on a base that allowed a segment or the whole piece to be rotated by hand.’
    • ‘Usually, either spheres or tubes form, but not both.’
    • ‘His sarong is no longer just a piece of cloth sewn into a tube but is shaped into sensual curves to be worn for a formal musical soirée without feeling like a country bumpkin.’
    • ‘Before the second class the following week, the muslin strips were stitched on two sides and turned to form a tube shape.’
    • ‘These tubes and shapes are redolent of the exterior world, yet they are also evocative of our skin, our interior bodies, our senses.’
    • ‘They had graduated grooves into which the pill mass, formed into a tube, was placed before being cut.’
    • ‘Like threads twisted together to form a rope, the possible flight paths formed tubes in space.’
    • ‘Curving peculiar squeaking sounds bend round corners as cardboard tubes, strings, and electronic squiggles are played along with distant piano.’
    • ‘It consisted of a system of rings corresponding to the great circles of the celestial sphere with a central tube which was used to line up stars and planets.’
    • ‘At about chest height in each of the big conical tubes is a thin horizontal slot about a meter wide.’
    • ‘Finally, she rolled the small scroll into a tight tube.’
    1. 2.1 A flexible metal or plastic container sealed at one end and having a screw cap at the other, for holding a semi-liquid substance ready for use.
      ‘a tube of toothpaste’
      • ‘He remembers collecting toothpaste tubes, newspapers, pots and pans.’
      • ‘He tossed out papers and paperclips and a tube of toothpaste onto the floor before finally withdrawing my inhaler.’
      • ‘Even the little tubes of toothpaste in the washrooms were taken.’
      • ‘The card features a bunny holding a tube of toothpaste.’
      • ‘With most tubes of toothpaste, you can roll them up and twist them to get the last bit of toothpaste out of there.’
      • ‘He giggles like a girl and waves a tube of auburn paint at me.’
      • ‘A toothpaste tube had been squeezed flat by a shoe.’
      • ‘Perry went into the bathroom and grabbed the tube of toothpaste.’
      • ‘But I'll buy two giant tubes of toothpaste if I have a coupon.’
      • ‘In their other hands were new toothbrushes, a tube of toothpaste and container of dental floss they received from their dentists.’
      • ‘There is a new tube of toothpaste ready and waiting.’
      • ‘I love finishing things - boxes of tissues, books, tubes of toothpaste, moisturiser, notebooks, whatever.’
      • ‘The food comes in what look like toothpaste tubes.’
      • ‘On view were five enormous inflatable white objects shaped like bottles, cans or toothpaste tubes.’
      • ‘It is no longer added to paint or pesticides and it is no longer used in such things as toothpaste tubes, tin can solder, toys and many other things.’
      • ‘This year's consignment of 5,000 boxes goes out this Saturday, along with blankets knitted by residents and 25,000 tubes of toothpaste.’
      • ‘One company sent them 12,000 toothbrushes and 12,000 tubes of toothpaste.’
      • ‘I have assumed your tube of toothpaste lasts for a little over two months’
      • ‘In the hygiene aisle, I grabbed two tubes of toothpaste, a bottle of shampoo.’
      • ‘You can't put the toothpaste back into the tube.’
      • ‘Cale followed me and promptly stole the tube of toothpaste from me.’
    2. 2.2 A rigid cylindrical container.
      ‘a tube of Smarties’
      • ‘To avoid looking like an eaves dropper, I pulled out a tube of lipstick from my pocket and began to apply a new coat of gloss.’
      • ‘The old tubes would be sent away to be ‘reconditioned’ which was a great re-use of resources.’
      • ‘The final circular Smarties tubes have rolled off the production line in York.’
      • ‘Her voice was definitely teasing this time, as she pulled a tube of plum-colored lipstick out of her purse.’
      • ‘By accident, she drops her lipstick, and the silver tube rolls on the floor, stopping at my feet.’
      • ‘Grab an old tube of lipstick and, while looking into the bathroom mirror, trace the outline of your face onto the glass.’
      • ‘She'd purchased a few tubes of lipstick, but they just happened to be her favorite brand, so I knew she was buying for herself.’
      • ‘If a print is too large and has to be rolled and sent in a tube, it should be taken out immediately after it arrived at its destination.’
      • ‘She then grabbed a lighter that was disguised to look like a lipstick tube.’
      • ‘As he walked away, Han took out a lipstick tube from her purse and began applying it to her lips.’
      • ‘To reward her efforts, Bethany was presented with a calculator shaped trophy, a tube of Smarties and a mug bearing the words, ‘I am a genius’.’
      • ‘It was a cylindrical tube, one small bulb on a side and a pin.’
      • ‘Lain walked over and pulled out the tube of white glitter lipstick out from a box propped on the dresser.’
      • ‘A home-made lunch is delivered in cylindrical tubes with four compartments each.’
      • ‘She tossed her towel with a flourish and dug in her purse, bringing up, after some searching, a tube of lipstick.’
      • ‘A shiny black purse, a tube of dark red lipstick, eyeshadow, white chub stick, eyeliner, and a weightless garment, fluttering to the ground.’
      • ‘Kitten got up from her desk a tube of red lipstick in her hand.’
      • ‘There was a highlighter, a matchbook, a tube of lipstick, a broken pencil stub.’
      • ‘She saw a tube of lipstick out of the corner of her eye and applied it to her lips before smacking them together looking at the result before grimacing and swiping it from her lips.’
      • ‘Extending generally vertically from the supports are cylindrical tubes that accommodate long and narrow cargo such as baseball and softball bats.’
      cylinder, scroll
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3Australian informal A can of beer.
      ‘a tube of lager’
      • ‘Have an ice-cold tube of Fosters on us.’
      • ‘Jerry smelled the familiar stench of beer as the tube neared his lips.’
      • ‘His Australian colleagues can sit in their armchairs swiggering on a "tube" of Fosters with total immunity smiling that he has taken the rap for the decisions they were responsible in making.’
    4. 2.4Botany Anatomy Zoology usually with adjective or noun modifier A hollow cylindrical organ or structure in an animal body or in a plant (e.g. a Eustachian tube, a sieve tube).
      • ‘The bladder and rectum originate from a single hollow tube, the endodermal cloaca.’
      • ‘But when you have a cold, swollen membranes in the ear can block the Eustachian tube, he explains.’
      • ‘Encouraging women to lose weight before becoming pregnant could independently prevent neural tube defects.’
      • ‘The endothelial tube everywhere remains intact and continuous.’
      • ‘The trachea is unbranched, and is formed by the division of the foregut by a longitudinal septum into two tubes - the trachea and the esophagus.’
      duct, channel, passage, pipe
      View synonyms
    5. 2.5tubesinformal A woman's fallopian tubes.
      ‘women with blocked tubes’
      • ‘Adhesions can involve the uterus, tubes, ovaries, and bowels and can attach any of these structures to each other or to the floor of the pelvic area.’
      • ‘For example, it is unclear how these superficial peritoneal lesions would give rise to infertility, especially if they were distant from the fimbria of the tubes or ovaries.’
      • ‘She will have an ultrasound scan of the womb, tubes and ovaries.’
      • ‘It can spread to the womb and tubes leading to pelvic inflammatory disease.’
      • ‘Mucus hostility means that the secretion from the neck of the womb is abnormal, and kills the sperm so that they cannot travel through the uterus to the tubes.’
    6. 2.6 A woman's close-fitting garment, typically without darts or other tailoring and made from a single piece of stretch fabric.
      as modifier ‘a tube skirt’
      • ‘Avoid constantly yanking up your denim tube dress by sliding it over your favorite top.’
      • ‘I just bought a strapless tube bra in the hopes of wearing it with skinny-strapped tank tops.’
      • ‘The look is long and lean; a mix of retro and ultra modern with crocheted bikinis, hole-infested frocks and horizontal striped tube knit dresses.’
      • ‘I was wearing an olive green tube top that showed off my belly button.’
      • ‘For a more classic look, there's a square-necked jacket with lateral buttons worn with a tube skirt hemmed at just below the knees.’
      • ‘The lightweight tube dress goes straight from the beach to the bar.’
      • ‘She had chosen a baby pink jean mini skirt, a matching tube top, and a white mesh jacket.’
      • ‘Drying herself, she wore a royal-blue tube dress with matching sapphire earrings, bracelet and necklace.’
      • ‘Your daughter wears these tube skirts with rasta blouses and sandals.’
      • ‘That awful pouty smile aside, the black and white striped tube dress just looks awful on Nelly.’
      • ‘Or it can be a rip off because in the end it is just a piece of long stretch tube.’
    7. 2.7 (in surfing) the hollow curve under the crest of a breaking wave.
      ‘he angled his board to get in the tube’
      • ‘Just as with ocean waves, as the wave breaks it forms a tube.’
      • ‘At Shipsterns, I think he got the best wave, the biggest tube, although they said mine was bigger.’
      • ‘Riding inside a tube with the wave crashing down around the surfer is particularly impressive.’
      • ‘Formal elements include a foreground or apron of foaming wash, and beyond that a wall of wave as it forms a tube, then crests and crashes.’
    8. 2.8informal A cigarette.
      ‘as soon as the no-smoking light dies she reaches for the tubes’
  • 3the Tubetrademark in UK The underground railway system in London.

    ‘a cross-London trek on the Tube’
    • ‘Today's hot topic was the Tube lines of the London Underground.’
    • ‘London Tube journeys are also up five per cent.’
    • ‘So we have various views of the world map but drawn as a London Underground Tube map.’
    • ‘Today's Pick, the London Underground Tube Diary, is a blog about travelling on the Tube daily.’
    • ‘First of all in London we have the Tube which is still owned by the Government, so comparisons can be made there.’
    1. 3.1 A train running on the London underground system.
      ‘I caught the Tube home’
      • ‘The emergency cord was pulled, and as the tube train drew into Oval station a man dashed out of the doors and ran.’
      • ‘The use of tube trains has gone down by 40% at the weekends, and between 5 and 15% on week days.’
      • ‘Instead I will be spending two hours a day on buses, trains and the tube.’
      • ‘However, on the train and tube, I heard lots of northern accents.’
      • ‘Will tube trains have ‘quiet carriages’ like mainline routes do?’
  • 4A sealed container, typically of glass and either evacuated or filled with gas, containing two electrodes between which an electric current can be made to flow.

    • ‘Such lamps have two electrodes in a ceramic tube that contains small amounts of mercury and metal-halide salts.’
    • ‘When a high electrical voltage is applied across the electrodes, a current begins to flow through the tube.’
    • ‘Fluorescent lamps generate light by passing electricity through a tube filled with inert gas and a small amount of mercury.’
    • ‘Early diodes in electronics were made from metal plates sealed inside evacuated glass tubes, which could be seen glowing in the innards of old radio sets.’
    • ‘When an electrical current is passed through an evacuated tube containing krypton gas, a very bright white light is produced.’
    1. 4.1 A cathode ray tube, especially in a television set.
      ‘colour tubes for portables’
      • ‘Look out for early signs of in-car computing, and the erosion of cathode-ray tubes by cheaper liquid-crystal displays.’
      • ‘Cathode ray tubes will shrink slightly over that period, from 171 million units to 145 million.’
      • ‘Simply connect the inverter to an available molex connector, and then connect both cold cathode tubes to the inverter on the opposing side.’
      • ‘He found the same charge to mass ratio of cathode rays was seen regardless of what material was inside the tube or what the cathode was made of.’
      • ‘Cathode ray tubes are common elements of our domestic televisions and desktop computers but are certainly one day set to become rare, given the rapid developments in alternative technologies.’
    2. 4.2the tubeNorth American informal Television.
      ‘watching the tube in a country bar’
      • ‘The online crowd cut back on television time, watching the tube 4.5 fewer hours per week than the no-Net group did.’
      • ‘Every evening you can find the two of us sitting at the kitchen table watching the tube.’
      • ‘A really bad skiing day is still better than a day spent running or sitting in front of the tube.’
      • ‘I didn't spend much time watching the tube, but what little I saw did manage to boil my blood.’
      • ‘Cut down on TV, computer, and video game time and discourage eating while watching the tube.’
      • ‘If he's recorded the best of the tube to watch at his leisure, maybe the TV will stay off until he wants to watch something specific.’
      • ‘So enjoy being up, you world-weary denizens of the night; there is some stuff on the tube worth watching.’
      • ‘Sally spent countless hours in front of the tube last season watching the games she was unable to attend in person.’
      • ‘The injury delayed his spring training debut and presumably allowed more time for watching the tube.’
      • ‘I have been glued to the tube all weekend watching the progress of the hurricane.’
      • ‘I would come home from school and turn on the tube and watch Nightmare on Elm Street.’
      • ‘Whereas a few decades ago most homes did not have a television, today it is estimated that kids spend upwards of 25 hours per week in front of the tube.’
      • ‘They'll just go zone out in front of the tube and try to forget the whole thing.’
      • ‘This evening we had a subdued supper followed by a couple of quiet hours in front of the tube.’
      • ‘Because Raymond tires so easily, we spend a lot of time in front of the tube.’
      • ‘Now, you work pretty hard, as everybody knows, as evidenced from watching you on the tube.’
      • ‘Most kids spend lots of time in front of the tube (or computer screens and video games).’
    3. 4.3North American A thermionic valve.
      • ‘The conduction of electricity in thin gases in vacuum tubes was the key to the discovery of the electron in 1897.’
      • ‘This work contains the principles of operation of The Thermionic Vacuum Tube, and coordinates the phenomena encountered in a study of this field.’
      • ‘A vacuum tube (also called an electron tube or, in the UK, a valve) is a device sometimes used to amplify electronic signals.’


[with object]
  • 1usually as adjective tubedProvide with a tube or tubes.

    in combination ‘a giant eight-tubed hookah’
    • ‘The precipitate was spread homogeneously over the entire surface of the tubed medium using a serologic pipette.’
    • ‘They are believed to produce sound by moving air through tubed extensions of the larynx to nasal plugs located near the blowholes.’
    • ‘The wooden counter was ringed with tubed lightning, stained with smoke and alcohol.’
    • ‘That said, the feedback I've heard from our testers indicate seating and inflating our tubeless road tires should be as easier, or even easier in some cases, than a tubed tire.’
  • 2informal Fit (a person or animal) with a tube to assist breathing, especially after a laryngotomy.

    • ‘He also did not receive a license in New York, and he received separate fines for tubing a horse and misusing lasix within the last three years of his practice.’
    • ‘The charge stemmed from his failure to properly record how he treated Hip Wolf on the day she was allegedly tubed, a practice of pumping medication through a tube inserted into the horse's nostril directly into its stomach.’
  • 3with adverbial Convey in a tube.

    ‘the wells were flooded, and this water, tubed off, yielded a supply of 38,000 gallons per hour’
    • ‘It has an eight inch bore, and is tubed through ninety feet of earth and ten feet into the rock; the remaining three hundred and fifty feet is without tube, being all in red sandstone.’
    • ‘It is tubed through part of the City.’
    tube, conduit, hose, main, duct, line, channel, canal, conveyor, pipeline, drain, tubing, piping, siphon, cylinder
    View synonyms
  • 4tube itBritish informal Travel on the Tube.

    ‘we tubed it back to Queensway’
    no object ‘I tubed to St Pancras’


  • go down the tube (or tubes)

    • informal Be completely lost or wasted; fail utterly.

      ‘the country is going slowly and surely down the tubes’
      • ‘I felt it was my destiny to carry on like this, and it was a tremendous psychological blow when the business went down the tubes.’
      • ‘His budget fails, and California's economy goes down the tubes.’
      • ‘Seeing my career go down the tubes always shakes me…’
      • ‘Many cases have gone down the tubes simply because of bad police investigations.’
      • ‘I saw what happened when a dictator was allowed to take over a piece of a country and the country went down the tubes.’
      • ‘How can anyone expect him to sit back and carry on as normal when so many councillors have gone down the tubes?’
      • ‘Now the novelty has worn off and the economy has gone down the tubes, but the artists are still coming.’
      • ‘The careers of a good many public servants have gone down the tubes for less.’
      • ‘Markets are collapsing and manufacturing is going down the tubes, but the people in the malls spend regardless.’
      • ‘They know full well that unless they come up with a constant stream of big sellers their career will go down the tube.’
      deteriorate, degenerate, decay, crumble, collapse, fail, fall, sink, slump, slip, slide, go downhill, worsen, get worse, go to rack and ruin, stagnate, atrophy, wither, weaken, fade, fade away, wane, ebb
      View synonyms


Mid 17th century: from French tube or Latin tubus.