Definition of chimney in US English:



  • 1A vertical channel or pipe that conducts smoke and combustion gases up from a fire or furnace and typically through the roof of a building.

    • ‘As a teenager, Jack Elphick used to cycle past giant factories studded with chimneys that exhaled foul smoke into a post-war Birmingham sky.’
    • ‘The houses were wooden, with thatched roofs and smoking chimneys.’
    • ‘Examine the condition of the flashings around chimneys, flue pipes, vent caps and anyplace where the roof and walls intersect.’
    • ‘An additional 5,500 fires were attributed to chimneys and chimney connectors serving heating systems burning liquid and other fuels.’
    • ‘Rather than look at street level, he encouraged us all to look at the roofs, the chimneys, the building join lines, as they show so much more about the development of an area.’
    • ‘About four o'clock, smoke would go up from the chimneys, as the fire was made up and the big iron boiler, or the three-legged pot, was slung on the hook of the chimney-chain.’
    • ‘Check the flashings-the metal pieces used to waterproof interruptions in the roof plane such as pipes, chimneys and skylights.’
    • ‘Images are beamed into the ops center; the towers are smoking like chimneys over the furnaces of Hell.’
    • ‘Above the red tile roofs, wisps of smoke drifted from the chimneys.’
    • ‘Atop the huge craft were, here and there, clusters of brassy and silvery machinery, like boilers and furnaces, with shiny chimneys that belched no smoke, but seemed only to vent a thin steam.’
    • ‘The talk of the town was almost as important as the smoke of the factory chimneys in creating a prosperous industrial economy.’
    • ‘Smoke curled from the chimneys of the wooden buildings below, nothing larger than two stories high.’
    • ‘There were many houses - hundreds or even thousands with slanted, white-topped roofs and chimneys that billowed thick smoke so heavy as it hung almost frozen in the air.’
    • ‘Low hills crested with trees poked from the fog like islands and a village - just a cluster of huts really - floated in the white carpet, smoke from early fires trickling from chimneys.’
    • ‘Most of us inhale far less smoke than our ancestors did, with their wood fires and poorly constructed chimneys, so it seems unlikely that ambient smoke can have caused the recent increase.’
    • ‘Hardwoods are better because they burn hotter and form less creosote, an oily, black tar that sticks to chimneys and stove pipes.’
    • ‘A small town was nearby as I noticed some stone, slate roofed buildings with smoking chimneys all about.’
    • ‘The briquettes do not produce a fire hot enough to draw the combustion products up the chimney.’
    • ‘It chokes the flues in the smoking chimneys, damping the fires so low that they burn badly, filling the houses with noxious fumes.’
    • ‘Now what greets one are soot and smoke, high rise buildings and chimneys.’
    stack, smokestack
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    1. 1.1 The part of a chimney that extends above the roof; a chimney stack.
      • ‘The Drummonds chimney which towers high above Lumb Lane is one of Bradford's most distinctive landmarks.’
      • ‘Most often his camera looks to where chimneys meet the sky above the decorative program of a building's exterior.’
      • ‘Each line in a drawing, each passage through space, each timber in a structure, each chimney in a landscape, was located precisely and sized acutely.’
      • ‘The only real clue to its after-hours possibilities is a large graphic on top that contains a house symbol with familiar gabled roof and chimney.’
      • ‘He scurried across the roof and ducked behind the great brick chimney just as his pursuers reached the window.’
      • ‘It has the appearance of a permanent dwelling with a pitched roof and chimney.’
      • ‘It is the Defendants' case that the Zyklon-B pellets were fed into the chamber by means of wire mesh column which ran upwards through the roof of the chamber with the chimney protruding above roof level.’
      • ‘Idande was sitting not far from me on the chimney, raised above my head, his legs dangling and swinging gently like a child might sit.’
      • ‘The houses and buildings of Thermis started getting closer and they could see the smoke rising out of the chimneys and above the tiled roofs of the town.’
      • ‘There are problems with the roof and chimney and tarmac paths surrounding the bungalow have been badly laid.’
      • ‘The outside of the house appeared to be a small cottage with a thatched roof and chimney.’
      • ‘Hiring an inspector at the end of the project is not in itself a bad idea since you are unlikely to crawl around the roof and discover there's no chimney flashing.’
      • ‘Looking ashore to Crosshaven, I could see the smoke lazily rising above the slate roofs from the town's many chimneys.’
      • ‘The mushroom was white with red dots on the cap and an almost chimney like structure on the top.’
      • ‘I want to take down an old, small chimney that is on the roof, and runs down between the living room and the kitchen.’
      • ‘Further on, the grey shape of a roof and chimney showed over the rise.’
      • ‘If the house is fairly tight, the simplest route for makeup air to enter the structure is often the unused fireplace chimney.’
      • ‘What were simple functional parts of the building, now became highly pattered and ostentatious - as the chimneys above show.’
      • ‘Oh. It's just that I'm learning how to renovate the roof and chimney on the next house and it's thirsty going.’
      stack, smokestack
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    2. 1.2 A glass tube that protects the flame of a lamp.
      • ‘It was cool and dark there, and on a low table by the bed there was already a kerosene lamp burning dully through its dirty chimney.’
      • ‘Candles are an inexpensive and easy-to-store lighting option, but to be safe, use them with glass chimneys.’
      • ‘Integral to this burner assembly is a cylindrical glass chimney, which is placed over the burner to induce two constant upward drafts.’
      • ‘The flame in the chimney flickered barely, just breathing its existence into the room, then disappeared again.’
      • ‘The improved draft system, utilizing a glass chimney, yielded a brighter light that burned more cleanly.’
      • ‘Add a few drops of ammonia to the rinse water for glass lamps, chimneys, and globes.’
      • ‘After getting the dust off the glass she lit the wide wick and replaced the chimney.’
      • ‘Afterwards we'd lie naked on the shadowy porch drinking beer and watching moths batter themselves against the lamp's chimney.’
      • ‘This can crack the chimney, allowing the flames to spread within the house.’
      • ‘Ms Tomlin said: ‘We have not been able to light that one yet because the chimney is capped with a piece of lead.’’
      • ‘Let's say the item being offered is a nice old oil lamp with an unblemished glass chimney and a base with some decoration that is in good shape.’
      • ‘A thermal chimney between the glass layers exhausts heat gains at the top and prevents interior heat gains.’
      • ‘I'd copied Max's Coleman, improving on the Sathe design by putting a pale glass bulb and chimney around a hollow wick.’
    3. 1.3 A steep narrow cleft by which a rock face may be climbed.
      • ‘The last pitch is a memorable chimney with a thorny bush that you have to climb through.’
      • ‘Crawl through then traverse around the corner and along the small ledge to belay in the corner beneath the chimney.’
      • ‘This chimney was the only possible path available for us to take, unless we were to back track and find a different route, and in the process lose our last rays of sunlight.’
      • ‘As soon as he cleared the narrow neck of the chimney, his cave light locked on to Shaw, floating eerily upright, his arms spread and the back of his head and shoulders jammed against the ceiling.’
      • ‘She whirled around as rocks fell from the chimney.’
      • ‘In these steep underwater cliff areas were chimneys of gravel that contained datolite nodules.’
      • ‘Spider up a chimney, then climb easy ramps and short steps to the top.’
      • ‘An offwidth is a crack which is too wide to use as a finger, hand or fist jam but too narrow to get right inside and climb as a chimney.’
      • ‘Above the chimney lies the Black Pyramid, a triangle of notoriously unstable slabs of ice and rock at about 24,500 feet.’
      • ‘The chimney pushes through the steep roofline and splits in two.’
      • ‘The rocks were greasy and slippery and the narrow chimneys and gullies, so delightful in dry summer conditions, were muddy and wet.’
      • ‘In his long career he has climbed most of the chimneys in Bradford and left his mark on the historic Lister's Mill in Manningham.’
      • ‘This was followed by a level stretch of grassy scree which leads to the crux, a steep shallow chimney, well marked by crampon scratches.’
      • ‘After a short crawl and a climb down a narrow chimney, South Chamber is reached.’
      • ‘Climb the obvious chimney / groove near the left hand end of the crag, stepping left at the top to finish up the steep wall above on excellent holds.’
      • ‘Sadly, I don't have photos of the chimney we climbed in the Red Banks.’
      • ‘It looked impossible to step onto the chimney directly above, as it was undercut at its base, and the surface was smooth, with no holds to be seen.’
      • ‘Making stemming moves with my feet and pushing against the rock with the palm of my hand I found myself in an awkward chimney position in an open flaring section off rock.’
      • ‘He went up and took a look at the cliff and rock chimneys above the pegmatites, but he didn't like heights.’
      • ‘From the recess next to the chimney climb up and left until you're right under the overhang.’


Middle English (denoting a fireplace or furnace): from Old French cheminee ‘chimney, fireplace’, from late Latin caminata, perhaps from camera caminata ‘room with a fireplace’, from Latin caminus ‘forge, furnace’, from Greek kaminos ‘oven’.