(plural vacuums or vacua)
Etymology: Latin, from neuter of vacuus empty, from vacare to be empty
1. emptiness of space
a. a space absolutely devoid of matter
b. a space partially exhausted (as to the highest degree possible) by artificial means (as an air pump)
c. a degree of rarefaction below atmospheric pressure
a. a state or condition resembling a vacuum ; void <the power vacuum in Indochina after the departure of the French — Norman Cousins> b. a state of isolation from outside influences <people who live in a vacuum…so that the world outside them is of no moment — W. S. Maugham> 4. a device creating or utilizing a partial vacuum; especially vacuum cleaner II. adjective Date: 1825 1. of, containing, producing, or utilizing a partial vacuum <separated by means of vacuum distillation> 2. of or relating to a vacuum device or system III. verb Date: 1922 transitive verb 1. to use a vacuum device (as a vacuum cleaner) on <vacuum the living room> 2. to draw or take in by or as if by suction intransitive verb to operate a vacuum device
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.