Definition of cylinder in US English:



  • 1A solid geometric figure with straight parallel sides and a circular or oval cross section.

    • ‘Joining the top and bottom of this rectangle produces a cylinder.’
    • ‘It was a tiny vase with a long neck, in the shape of a plain cylinder.’
    • ‘Narnia uses stencil shadows generated from implicit geometry representations such as cylinders and ellipsoids, and also extruded polygons.’
    • ‘Simple geometrical arrangements such as an ellipsoid or a cylinder are often used to gauge the shape of particles such as micelles and proteins.’
    • ‘Volumes of solids such as prisms, pyramids, tetrahedrons, wedges, cylinders and truncated cones are calculated.’
    • ‘He goes on to consider solid geometry giving results on prisms, cylinders, and spheres.’
    • ‘The artists also showed they were influenced by Cubist ideas by the way they focused attention on cylinders, cubes and other geometric forms.’
    • ‘For this purpose, we represent the globular proteins with spheres and the membrane proteins with cylinders.’
    • ‘I prefer the restrained vista-framing, avenue-forming, gentle shapes of cylinders, spires and cones.’
    • ‘His specific sculptural language can be reduced to four basic elements or motifs that appear as pure geometrical forms - the ovoid, the cube, the cylinder and the truncated pyramid.’
    1. 1.1 A solid or hollow body, object, or part having the shape of a cylinder.
      • ‘A barrel-organ contains a pin-studded cylinder turned by a handle - the pins open pipes to act upon the keys as the handle is turned.’
      • ‘Form the marzipan into a cylinder the same length as the stollen dough.’
      • ‘The cylinders exert pressure on the bale to create tight, dense bales.’
      • ‘The shinai is approximately four feet in length and is made of four carefully formed bamboo slats bound together to form hollow cylinder.’
      • ‘Concrete-filled cast iron cylinders and concrete abutments form the foundations.’
      • ‘The item was a metal cylinder, much like a hard steel tube.’
      • ‘Many materials scientists predict that the tiny, hollow cylinders of carbon atoms known as carbon nanotubes will eventually lead to a new generation of supersmall transistors.’
      • ‘Fire extinguishers are sturdy metal cylinders filled with water or a smothering material.’
      • ‘Smoke has started to filter out of the evenly spaced holes along one side of the cylinder.’
      • ‘The annulus is a hollow cylinder which surrounds the nucleus.’
      • ‘The cell body is actually a cylinder capped at both ends by hemispheres and the radius of the flagellum helix is smaller than that of the cell body.’
      • ‘Nanotubes are hollow cylinders of pure carbon that are just one atom thick.’
      • ‘Patrick had the small metal cylinder clipped on his belt.’
      • ‘The long, very narrow, hollow cylinders of carbon atoms built like a rolled up honeycomb have attracted researchers in several fields because of their unique chemical and physical properties.’
      • ‘The magnets of the MRI system are housed in two cylinders - one on each side of the patient's head.’
      • ‘Cut the dough into two equal portions, flour them lightly, and tuck and shape them into fat cylinders.’
      • ‘Control rods are solid cylinders of metal constructed of some material that has an ability to absorb neutrons.’
      • ‘The worshipers light incense sticks, kneel before the main altar, make a wish, and shake a bamboo cylinder containing fortune sticks until one falls out.’
      tube, conduit, hose, main, duct, line, channel, canal, conveyor, pipeline, drain, tubing, piping, siphon
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    2. 1.2 A piston chamber in a steam or internal combustion engine.
      • ‘The advanced technology that he found at Coalbrookdale impressed him greatly, particularly the machine for boring cylinders for steam engines.’
      • ‘The cylinders have to be right and their fit with the piston rings perfect.’
      • ‘With both valves closed following combustion, the pistons in those cylinders come up and compress the exhaust gases instead of pumping them out.’
      • ‘Think of a cylinder and a piston in an old steam engine.’
      • ‘Eight hydraulic cylinders are then actuated by an electric motor/pump system.’
      • ‘The engine truck is designed to provide ample clearance for the removal of the pistons from the cylinders with the truck in place.’
      • ‘In a diesel engine a fuel air mixture is injected into a cylinder where it is compressed by a piston.’
      • ‘The force of the resulting explosion pushes the piston down the cylinder for the exhaust stroke.’
      • ‘When a cylinder fires, the piston rod is at an angle and can immediately turn the crankshaft via the cam at the end of the pivoting arm.’
      • ‘Pushing the piston higher into the cylinder compresses the air-fuel charge more tightly and produces more efficient combustion.’
      • ‘The pistons, cylinders and other essential parts of the engine are subjected to extreme stress if the heat does not escape.’
      • ‘The cylinder incorporates a central spring loaded bushing that permits the cylinder to move forward and backward.’
      • ‘You can get more displacement in an engine either by increasing the number of cylinders or by making the combustion chambers of all the cylinders bigger.’
      • ‘After the spark plug has fired and ignited the mixture, excess gases are pushed by the piston out of the cylinder towards the exhaust system.’
      • ‘The steam is then fed to cylinders, where it forces the pistons back and forth.’
      • ‘Besides leaving salt deposits, rusting internal parts and causing valve damage, water in an engine also makes short work of pistons and cylinders.’
      • ‘The engine-room ventilation hatches are open and I poke my head inside, counting five cylinders on the steam engine below.’
    3. 1.3 A cylindrical container for liquefied gas under pressure.
      • ‘The crews contained the fire within an hour and prevented the cylinders from exploding, but were only able to secure the area by late afternoon on the following day, allowing residents to return to their homes.’
      • ‘Fire crews from across south Essex and east London were called to battle a blaze in a scrapyard containing potentially explosive cylinders.’
      • ‘The emergency situation was sparked after a fire broke out in a shed in the back garden of a Portchester house where there was a 4ft cylinder containing oxyacetylene gas.’
      • ‘There was also a compressor and Angus was shown how to pressurise the air cylinders while Hopkirk and friends were out on the loch with the launch.’
      • ‘They discovered a fire on a road contractor's lorry, which contained two propane cylinders that could have exploded in the heat.’
      • ‘While dealing with the blaze, the fire fighters also came across a number of cylinders including two that contained highly volatile acetylene gas.’
      • ‘The diver would breathe air supplied by pipes from the surface or via pressurised cylinders attached to the outside of the chamber.’
      • ‘Brave fire fighters spent the whole of last weekend containing a blaze involving unexploded highly flammable gas cylinders after a field fire spread into a Feltham motor repair garage.’
      • ‘The living room contains a gas-stove, two gas cylinders, a three-seater chair and a centre table.’
      • ‘The grounds were full of empty fridges, gas cylinders and empty containers of sulphuric acid.’
      • ‘The fire started in the 20-metre by 10-metre workshop which contained a cylinder of hazardous acetylene.’
      • ‘Automatic pressure regulators are often used to lower gas pressure in a cylinder to safe levels for a particular job.’
      • ‘They spent about 30 minutes tackling the blaze, which involved pressurised cylinders and completely destroyed an outbuilding.’
      • ‘Residents were forced to evacuate their Eastwood homes after a field fire swept through garden sheds containing potentially explosive gas cylinders.’
      • ‘Residents from around 200 houses in Colne had to leave their properties at 8pm after a fire at a block of garages containing cylinders of highly explosive gas on Tuesday night.’
      • ‘Three weeks ago residents were evacuated from their South Croydon homes following a fire in a workshop which contained gas cylinders.’
      • ‘The fuel cell unit with a power output of 200 kW and the pressurized gas cylinders containing compressed hydrogen are accommodated on the roof.’
      • ‘Ethylene enrichment was provided by cylinders containing a mixed calibrated gas.’
      • ‘The buses run on hydrogen gas, contained in six cylinders on the bus roof, and emit only pure water vapour.’
      • ‘The pressure within the cylinder had increased due to the heat.’
      • ‘Police closed the street because one of the cabins contained a gas cylinder.’
      cassette, magazine, canister, container, capsule, case, pack, packet, package
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    4. 1.4 A rotating metal roller in a printing press.
      tube, scroll
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    5. 1.5Archaeology A cylinder seal.


Late 16th century: from Latin cylindrus, from Greek kulindros ‘roller’, from kulindein ‘to roll’.