Definition of vapour in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈveɪpə/
(US vapor)


1 [mass noun] A substance diffused or suspended in the air, especially one normally liquid or solid: dense clouds of smoke and toxic vapour [count noun]: petrol vapours
More example sentences
  • Air rising to pass over the mountains cools and the water vapour condenses into cloud, rain and, if it is cold enough, snow.
  • As water vapor condenses in the air each night, grass, plants and cars are covered by morning with a thin layer of water.
  • As the warm air rises the water vapor in it condenses into clouds that can produce rain, snow, sleet or freezing rain, often all four.
haze, mist, spray, steam, water vapour, condensation, smoke, fumes, exhalation, fog, smog, murk, cloud, cloudiness, drizzle, dampness, humidity, mistiness, Scotch mist
1.1 [count noun] Physics A gaseous substance that is below its critical temperature, and can therefore be liquefied by pressure alone. Compare with gas.
Example sentences
  • A vapor is the gaseous phase of a substance that, under ordinary conditions, exists as a liquid or solid.
  • A gas is distinguished from a vapor in that a gas is above the critical point at which the liquid boils.
  • What results is a super-saturated vapour, which cools to near ambient temperatures in a few milliseconds and condenses into the aerosol particles that make up the smoke.
2 (the vapours) dated A sudden feeling of faintness or nervousness or a state of depression: a fit of the vapours
More example sentences
  • ‘If you have ever got the vapours when your teenager has stood beside your fixed-line phone making an expensive mobile call, then this addresses the problem,’ he said.
  • I think I d have loved to be alive in an era of elegance and old-fashioned manners where ladies had attacks of the vapours and the gentlemen were just that - gentlemen.
  • She sat at the table, legs propped up on the table in a manner that would give ladies in the finer centres of Europe a case of the vapours.


[no object]
Talk in a vacuous, boasting, or pompous way: he was vapouring on about the days of his youth
More example sentences
  • Beckford later claimed that he suggested to Mozart one of the best-known tunes in The Marriage of Figaro: he may have been ‘vapouring’ like his father.
  • Neither of these vaporings has the remotest basis in the actual Constitution.
  • Their coverage was dominated by the self-important vapourings of a stream of politicians.



Pronunciation: /ˈveɪpərəs/
Example sentences
  • The morning sun was hazy, filtering first through low winter clouds, then through the bedroom window blinds, filling the room with a tepid, vaporous half-light.
  • Her vision was blurred, but she could faintly see the vaporous cloud hovering above her.
  • For a long moment, the woman simply stared straight at them, unmoving, slowly inhaling the excess smoke from her dwindling cigarette, the smoke entwining her features like a vaporous cloud of fog on a snowy evening.


Pronunciation: /ˈveɪpərəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • A cloud, a sort of vaporousness, redolent with fresh acrid sweat on top of powerful stale sweat, hung thickly about me.


adjective ( archaic)
Example sentences
  • Ghost apparitions almost always appear in a white vaporish form with a decidedly human appearance.
  • Her heart lurched as she caught sight of a ship, hidden in a vapourish haze, emerging around the headland.
  • He can't always see more than a corner of the room - it appears vapourish and shadowy.


Example sentences
  • Thomas Logan referred to the sometimes ‘vapory condition of the atmosphere,’ which he associated with the tropics.
  • The cattle lay quietly ruminating in the fields, their breath floating round them in a vapoury veil.
  • As far as my eye could reach, corn-fields, corn-fields, dwindling away towards the horizon in a vapoury line.


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin vapor 'steam, heat'. The current verb sense dates from the early 17th century.

  • This comes from Latin vapor ‘steam, heat’. Evaporate (Late Middle English) comes from the Latin for ‘to change into vapour’, evaporare. Latin Vapidus ‘savourless’, source of vapid (mid 17th century), is probably related. See also hysteria

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: va¦pour

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