The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Vacuum \Vac"u*um\ (v[a^]k"[-u]*[u^]m), n.; pl. E. Vacuums
(v[a^]k"[-u]*[u^]mz), L. Vacua (v[a^]k"[-u]*[.a]). [L., fr.
vacuus empty. See Vacuous.]
1. (Physics) A space entirely devoid of matter (called also,
by way of distinction, absolute vacuum); hence, in a more
general sense, a space, as the interior of a closed
vessel, which has been exhausted to a high or the highest
degree by an air pump or other artificial means; as, water
boils at a reduced temperature in a vacuum.
2. The condition of rarefaction, or reduction of pressure
below that of the atmosphere, in a vessel, as the
condenser of a steam engine, which is nearly exhausted of
air or steam, etc.; as, a vacuum of 26 inches of mercury,
or 13 pounds per square inch.
Vacuum brake, a kind of continuous brake operated by
exhausting the air from some appliance under each car, and
so causing the pressure of the atmosphere to apply the
Vacuum pan (Technol.), a kind of large closed metallic
retort used in sugar making for boiling down sirup. It is
so connected with an exhausting apparatus that a partial
vacuum is formed within. This allows the evaporation and
concentration to take place at a lower atmospheric
pressure and hence also at a lower temperature, which
largely obviates the danger of burning the sugar, and
shortens the process.
Vacuum pump. Same as Pulsometer, 1.
Vacuum tube (Phys.),
(a) a glass tube provided with platinum electrodes and
exhausted, for the passage of the electrical
discharge; a Geissler tube.
(a) any tube used in electronic devices, containing a
vacuum and used to control the flow of electrons in a
circuit, as a vacuum diode, triode, tetrode, or
Vacuum valve, a safety valve opening inward to admit air to
a vessel in which the pressure is less than that of the
atmosphere, in order to prevent collapse.
Torricellian vacuum. See under Torricellian.