Definition of tube in English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The radiologist connects a barium bag to the tube to deliver liquid barium into your colon.’
    • ‘One end of the tube is connected to the cylinder, and its heat lights the fuel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Kim pulled out a small glass tube with liquid inside.’
    • ‘Anaesthesia usually begins when the anaesthetist injects a drug through a fine plastic tube inserted into a vein in the back of the hand.’
    • ‘This metal tip transfers your body heat to the liquid inside the glass tube.’
    • ‘This effect can also be seen when a liquid is in a tube such as a measuring cylinder.’
    • ‘He punctured my eardrum, drained the fluid and inserted a plastic tube.’
    • ‘To perform this experiment a little oil of turpentine was placed at the bottom of a glass tube surrounded with boiling liquid air.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There were also racks of smaller tubes filled with clear and purple liquids and jars of empty plastic tubes.’
    • ‘The samples were stored refrigerated in plastic tubes without preservatives until further processing within 24 hours.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A straw itself will not hold up well to this experiment, so see if you can get a tube of glass or plastic.’
    • ‘He was going to do a tracheotomy, opening the throat and inserting a tube into the windpipe.’
    • ‘From it emerges a plastic tube with a mask that fits over my nose.’
    • ‘In other news, Junior is feeding so well that he is free of plastic tubes.’
    vent, flue, shaft, conduit, duct, channel, pipe, pipeline, passage, tube
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The inner tube of a bicycle tire.
      • ‘They specialize in refurbishing tubular tires with new tubes.’
      • ‘It ends up looking like some kind of snarling bicycle tube.’
      • ‘Also be sure to plan ahead for potential damage to your bike, whether it's a pinched tube or something else entirely.’
      • ‘With theserims you can ride regular tubes and tyres and reduce rolling weight by up to 5lbs!’
      • ‘I then spent ten minutes changing the tube in my front tyre and looking faintly sheepish.’
      • ‘Both tires off and new mountain bike tubes are put on.’
      • ‘It is especially common with tall bikes, particularly ones with small-diameter tubes.’
      • ‘I'd like to know the advantage of using tubeless tires and why one would use tubes with tubeless tires.’
      • ‘Tyres and tubes were rationed but could be purchased on the black market at exorbitant prices.’
      • ‘Barring the tyres and tubes, each part of his cycle, the valve, piston etc, was made of bamboo.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He had also had many requests for new tyres and tubes and other bicycle parts.’
    2. 1.2Material made into cylindrical form; tubing.
      ‘the firm manufactures steel tube for a wide variety of applications’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The design was interesting in the fact it utilized steel tube spars in the tapered wings and a plywood - covered fuselage.’
      • ‘The fuselage was steel tube with fabric and aluminum covering while the tail was welded steel tubing with fabric covering.’
      • ‘The helicopter has steel tube skid type landing gear.’
      • ‘This plane had a welded steel tube fuselage which became the industry standard.’
      • ‘Finally a small length of silicone tube locks the helicopter bead and tubing to the lower swivel of our up-trace.’
      • ‘The stools are made of mild steel sheet and tube using a construction method called spinning.’
      • ‘Wing construction comprised two spruce spars with plywood ribs and steel tube and wire drag bracing.’
      • ‘Two wide wing bracing struts were built from steel tube and balsa wood and fabric covered.’
      • ‘By mid-1931, Stanley launched a line of garden tools manufactured with all steel tube handles and stampings.’
      • ‘The fuselage was built out of welded chrome-molybdenum steel tube with rod bracing and fabric covering.’
      • ‘Some had crudely welded steel tube frames and rudimentary suspensions.’
      • ‘Black tube steel was sourced from local foundries, together with telegraph poles and guy wires which were donated by a power supplier.’
      • ‘The fuselage was of welded steel tube truss construction and was quite stout.’
      • ‘Construction is ingenious and apt, with social areas in balloon frame, and steel tube columns in the pool space.’
  • 2A thing in the form of or resembling a tube, in particular.

    • ‘At about chest height in each of the big conical tubes is a thin horizontal slot about a meter wide.’
    • ‘They had graduated grooves into which the pill mass, formed into a tube, was placed before being cut.’
    • ‘The shell surrounds a large mantle cavity, and wraps around the viscera to form a tube.’
    • ‘These tubes and shapes are redolent of the exterior world, yet they are also evocative of our skin, our interior bodies, our senses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Using the plastic wrap as a guide, tightly roll up the foie gras and shape it into a tube, about two inches in diameter.’
    • ‘Before the second class the following week, the muslin strips were stitched on two sides and turned to form a tube shape.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Like threads twisted together to form a rope, the possible flight paths formed tubes in space.’
    • ‘Usually, either spheres or tubes form, but not both.’
    • ‘Finally, she rolled the small scroll into a tight tube.’
    • ‘Curving peculiar squeaking sounds bend round corners as cardboard tubes, strings, and electronic squiggles are played along with distant piano.’
    1. 2.1A flexible metal or plastic container sealed at one end and having a screw cap at the other, for holding a semiliquid substance ready for use.
      ‘a tube of toothpaste’
      • ‘The card features a bunny holding a tube of toothpaste.’
      • ‘On view were five enormous inflatable white objects shaped like bottles, cans or toothpaste tubes.’
      • ‘Even the little tubes of toothpaste in the washrooms were taken.’
      • ‘A toothpaste tube had been squeezed flat by a shoe.’
      • ‘One company sent them 12,000 toothbrushes and 12,000 tubes 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.’
      • ‘Cale followed me and promptly stole the tube of toothpaste from me.’
      • ‘But I'll buy two giant tubes of toothpaste if I have a coupon.’
      • ‘Perry went into the bathroom and grabbed the tube of toothpaste.’
      • ‘This year's consignment of 5,000 boxes goes out this Saturday, along with blankets knitted by residents and 25,000 tubes of toothpaste.’
      • ‘There is a new tube of toothpaste ready and waiting.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He giggles like a girl and waves a tube of auburn paint at me.’
      • ‘The food comes in what look like toothpaste tubes.’
      • ‘You can't put the toothpaste back into the tube.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In their other hands were new toothbrushes, a tube of toothpaste and container of dental floss they received from their dentists.’
      • ‘I love finishing things - boxes of tissues, books, tubes of toothpaste, moisturiser, notebooks, whatever.’
      • ‘In the hygiene aisle, I grabbed two tubes of toothpaste, a bottle of shampoo.’
      • ‘I have assumed your tube of toothpaste lasts for a little over two months’
    2. 2.2A rigid cylindrical container.
      ‘a tube of lipstick’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Kitten got up from her desk a tube of red lipstick in her hand.’
      • ‘She tossed her towel with a flourish and dug in her purse, bringing up, after some searching, a tube of lipstick.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A shiny black purse, a tube of dark red lipstick, eyeshadow, white chub stick, eyeliner, and a weightless garment, fluttering to the ground.’
      • ‘It was a cylindrical tube, one small bulb on a side and a pin.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The old tubes would be sent away to be ‘reconditioned’ which was a great re-use of resources.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She then grabbed a lighter that was disguised to look like a lipstick tube.’
      • ‘There was a highlighter, a matchbook, a tube of lipstick, a broken pencil stub.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘A home-made lunch is delivered in cylindrical tubes with four compartments each.’
      • ‘As he walked away, Han took out a lipstick tube from her purse and began applying it to her lips.’
      • ‘Grab an old tube of lipstick and, while looking into the bathroom mirror, trace the outline of your face onto the glass.’
      • ‘Extending generally vertically from the supports are cylindrical tubes that accommodate long and narrow cargo such as baseball and softball bats.’
      • ‘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 final circular Smarties tubes have rolled off the production line in York.’
      • ‘Lain walked over and pulled out the tube of white glitter lipstick out from a box propped on the dresser.’
    3. 2.3Botany Anatomy Zoology [usually with modifier]A hollow cylindrical organ or structure in an animal body or in a plant.
      ‘Eustachian tube’
      ‘sieve tube’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      duct, tube, channel, passage, pipe
      View synonyms
    4. 2.4informal A woman's fallopian tubes.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She will have an ultrasound scan of the womb, tubes and ovaries.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It can spread to the womb and tubes leading to pelvic inflammatory disease.’
      • ‘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.’
    5. 2.5A woman's close-fitting garment, typically without darts or other tailoring and made from a single piece of knitted or elasticized fabric.
      [as modifier] ‘stretchy tube skirts’
      • ‘The lightweight tube dress goes straight from the beach to the bar.’
      • ‘Or it can be a rip off because in the end it is just a piece of long stretch tube.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Avoid constantly yanking up your denim tube dress by sliding it over your favorite top.’
      • ‘I was wearing an olive green tube top that showed off my belly button.’
      • ‘That awful pouty smile aside, the black and white striped tube dress just looks awful on Nelly.’
      • ‘Your daughter wears these tube skirts with rasta blouses and sandals.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I just bought a strapless tube bra in the hopes of wearing it with skinny-strapped tank tops.’
    6. 2.6(in surfing) the hollow curve under the crest of a breaking wave.
      • ‘At Shipsterns, I think he got the best wave, the biggest tube, although they said mine was bigger.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Riding inside a tube with the wave crashing down around the surfer is particularly impressive.’
      • ‘Just as with ocean waves, as the wave breaks it forms a tube.’
  • 3British trademark The subway system in London.

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

    • ‘When a high electrical voltage is applied across the electrodes, a current begins to flow through the tube.’
    • ‘Such lamps have two electrodes in a ceramic tube that contains small amounts of mercury and metal-halide salts.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Fluorescent lamps generate light by passing electricity through a tube filled with inert gas and a small amount of mercury.’
    1. 4.1A cathode ray tube, especially in a television set.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Simply connect the inverter to an available molex connector, and then connect both cold cathode tubes to the inverter on the opposing side.’
      • ‘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. 4.2North American informal Television.
      ‘another wasted evening, sitting in front of the tube’
      • ‘Sally spent countless hours in front of the tube last season watching the games she was unable to attend in person.’
      • ‘Most kids spend lots of time in front of the tube (or computer screens and video games).’
      • ‘Now, you work pretty hard, as everybody knows, as evidenced from watching you on the tube.’
      • ‘The online crowd cut back on television time, watching the tube 4.5 fewer hours per week than the no-Net group did.’
      • ‘I didn't spend much time watching the tube, but what little I saw did manage to boil my blood.’
      • ‘Because Raymond tires so easily, we spend a lot of time in front of the tube.’
      • ‘Cut down on TV, computer, and video game time and discourage eating while watching the tube.’
      • ‘They'll just go zone out in front of the tube and try to forget the whole thing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The injury delayed his spring training debut and presumably allowed more time for watching the tube.’
      • ‘Every evening you can find the two of us sitting at the kitchen table watching the tube.’
      • ‘I have been glued to the tube all weekend watching the progress of the hurricane.’
      • ‘This evening we had a subdued supper followed by a couple of quiet hours in front of the tube.’
      • ‘So enjoy being up, you world-weary denizens of the night; there is some stuff on the tube worth watching.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A really bad skiing day is still better than a day spent running or sitting in front of the tube.’
      • ‘I would come home from school and turn on the tube and watch Nightmare on Elm Street.’
    3. 4.3North American A vacuum tube.
      • ‘The conduction of electricity in thin gases in vacuum tubes was the key to the discovery of the electron in 1897.’
      • ‘A vacuum tube (also called an electron tube or, in the UK, a valve) is a device sometimes used to amplify electronic signals.’
      • ‘This work contains the principles of operation of The Thermionic Vacuum Tube, and coordinates the phenomena encountered in a study of this field.’


  • 1Provide with a tube or tubes.

    [in combination] ‘a giant eight-tubed hookah’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The precipitate was spread homogeneously over the entire surface of the tubed medium using a serologic pipette.’
  • 2informal Fit (a person or animal) with a tube to assist breathing, especially after a laryngotomy.


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