Definition of pipe in English:

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Pronunciation: /pʌɪp/


1A tube used to convey water, gas, oil, or other fluid substances.
Example sentences
  • Roads, bridges, utility lines, water and sewer pipes, and other supporting services have to be rebuilt.
  • Modern roads have a maze of water and sewer pipes running beneath them.
  • We are constantly upgrading drain and water supply pipes.
tube, conduit, hose, main, duct, line, channel, canal, conveyor, pipeline, drain, tubing, piping, siphon, cylinder;
Medicine  fistula
1.1A cylindrical vein of ore or rock, especially one in which diamonds are found.
Example sentences
  • The geology and history of the discovery of the diamond pipes are described in detail in numerous publications.
  • The ‘Big Holes’ left on the South African diamond pipes are hundreds of metres deep, and their floors continue to subside as the rock is dug away from below.
  • In order to mine the deep pipes in which diamonds were found, capital, technology, and control of water were all-important.
1.2A cavity in cast metal.
Example sentences
  • The most troublesome incidence of emitter-collector shorts is that due to pipes.
  • Pipe and lamination defects are a by-product of ingot steel production.
  • The pipe in the cast metal may be filled up with sand.
1.3 informal A duct, vessel, or tubular structure in the body, or in an animal or plant.
Example sentences
  • It is a chronic condition in which stomach acid backs up into your food pipe.
  • Normally, food moves down a pipe (called the esophagus) between your mouth and your stomach.
  • The acid damages cells lining the oesophagus, also known as the food pipe or gullet, which can later become cancerous.
1.4 Computing A connection to the Internet or to a website.
Example sentences
  • These companies have discovered, in fact, that the bigger the Internet delivery pipe, the bigger the potential return.
  • Their large internet pipes are a valuable perk they can share with their employees.
  • Home- and office-based video streaming is coming, and that data needs a fat pipe in both directions.
2A device for smoking tobacco, consisting of a narrow tube made from wood, clay, etc. with a bowl at one end in which the tobacco is burned, the smoke from which is drawn into the mouth: [as modifier]: a smell of pipe tobacco
More example sentences
  • Household objects ranging from baskets to pipes for smoking tobacco are made out of bamboo.
  • Cancer of the oral cavity is more common in people who chew tobacco or smoke pipes.
  • Into his car I would eagerly climb, greeted by the familiar smell of cigars and pipe tobacco.
tobacco pipe, briar (pipe), meerschaum, clay pipe;
British  churchwarden;
Scottish & Northern English  cutty;
Anglo-Irish  dudeen
rare calabash, calumet, chibouk, hookah, narghile, calean, hubble-bubble, bong, chillum
2.1A quantity of tobacco held by a pipe: they were sharing a pipe of tobacco
More example sentences
  • They were small but doughty warriors and not averse to a pipe of baccy after the battle.
  • When he is not in front of the computer, he can be found enjoying a pipe of tobacco.
  • He made himself comfortable in his recording studio with a pipe of tobacco and the bootleg CD.
2.2A device for smoking illegal drugs: a crack pipe
More example sentences
  • I forced myself onto my balcony, and very methodically packed another pipe full of cannabis, sat down in a chair, and turned some music on.
  • I hate to say it but, yeah, I'm pretty sure if all I had to do was smoke crack once, I'd hit that pipe and take the money.
3A wind instrument consisting of a single tube with holes along its length that are covered by the fingers to produce different notes: the tone of a reed pipe
More example sentences
  • The girl blew into the pipe with her fingers moving dexterously.
  • She continued playing her pipe.
  • Their hollow bones were used for musical pipes.
whistle, penny whistle, flute, recorder, fife;
chanter, drone;
wind instrument
3.1 (usually pipes) Bagpipes.
Example sentences
  • The pipes are a specialty amongst the Island musicians and they had some master pipe players.
  • As they entered the ring before the fight a small contingent of pipes and drums tried to play Flower of Scotland but were drowned out by a crowd who were desperate for the action to begin.
  • My father played the fiddle and the pipes; my mother played melodeon and five-string banjo.
pan pipes;
Irish  uillean pipes
3.2 (pipes) A set of musical pipes joined together, as in pan pipes.
Example sentences
  • The sound of pipes joined the beat of the drum, and the men began to sing a hearty Canaanite sea shanty as the ship moved through the surf and out to sea.
  • His father played the pipes, tin whistle and fiddle and was a notable musician in his day.
  • He is also extremely accomplished on whistles, pipes and flutes.
3.3Any of the cylindrical tubes by which notes are produced in an organ.
Example sentences
  • On the earlier organs, the pipes for each note stood directly in front of its key on the keyboard.
  • The enormous burnished pipes of the organ, lit from below, rose like architecture behind the musicians.
  • It was resounding like an organ pipe, strongly enough to rattle windows.
3.4A boatswain’s whistle.
Example sentences
  • Shrill trilling vocalizations are thought to be similar to the sound of a boatswain's pipe.
  • The boatswain's pipe is the 'modern day' descendant of the flutes used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans to convey orders to the oarsmen and galley slaves.
  • The shrill of the pipe draws the attention.
3.5 [in singular] A high-pitched cry or song, especially of a bird: the sad little pipe of the ringed plover
More example sentences
  • The silence was broken only by the splash of an alligator leaping on some prey far below, and the mournful pipe of some jungle bird across the rivers.
  • We heard the raucous squabbling of gulls and the haunting pipe of the curlew.
  • The bright blue sky and the merry pipe of birds call him out to active exercise and unaccustomed sport.
4 Computing A command which causes the output from one routine to be the input for another.
Short for pipeline
Example sentences
  • You can use the pipe to redirect the file's output.
  • You can do this using Unix pipes and you could probably do the whole thing in shell script.
  • By contrast, pipes, sockets and command-line arguments are communication mechanisms normally used between two separate programs.
4.1The symbol |.
5A cask for wine, especially as a measure equal to two hogsheads, usually equivalent to 105 gallons (about 477 litres): a fresh pipe of port
More example sentences
  • The pipe is Portugal's most famous wine measure.
  • If anyone elected bailiff has in his tavern, on the day of the election, a tun or two pipes of wine, he may be allowed to sell them at a profit after Michaelmas.
  • This port is put into wooden port barrels or pipes, but instead of just two years in oak as in the case of a declared vintage port, it spends four to six years in barrel.


1 [with object and adverbial of direction] Convey (water, gas, oil, or other fluid substances) through a pipe or pipes: water from the lakes is piped to Manchester
More example sentences
  • The suggested quarry site falls short on both counts, as the available water is full of fine rock particles and piping the water would be an expensive operation.
  • I used to cut softwood from shelterbelts on prairie farms but when natural gas was piped out to all farms in the area the demand disappeared.
  • Fresh water was piped in from the lake behind the settlement and could be tapped into with relative ease, giving Mac the unlimited fresh water that had always been his dream.
convey, channel, siphon, run, feed, lead, bring
1.1Transmit (music, a radio or television programme, signal, etc.) by wire or cable: he was watching a movie piped to his room on one of the hotel’s video channels
More example sentences
  • Unbeknownst to most of the country, a company in London has been using broadband connections via traditional phone lines to pipe television into homes.
  • Jazzy piano and blues music is piped into every room.
  • Before the service began, Caribbean-style music was piped from loudspeakers erected outside the church which could be heard several streets away.
transmit, feed, lead, patch
2 [with object] Play (a tune) on a pipe or pipes: he believed he’d heard music—a tune being piped
More example sentences
  • Bag piper Sir Robert Bell piped the tune ‘Highland Cathedral’ as the many uniformed officers saluted their fallen comrade.
  • Homer speaks of a flute player piping a tune to which men rhythmically stomped grapes.
  • The Shepherd still pipes a sad tune.
play on a pipe;
play the pipes, tootle, whistle
literary flute
2.1 [with object and adverbial of direction] Play a pipe or pipes as a ceremonial accompaniment to the arrival or departure of (someone): the Duke was piped on board
More example sentences
  • Tourists are piped on to the train by a young kilted boy on the platform as steam gathers into clouds which float gently overhead.
  • He was piped in like the chieftains of old by Sligo piper Eugene Conlon.
  • Guests were piped into Ashford Castle by Mattie Dowd of Balla Pipe band.
2.2 [with object and adverbial] Use a boatswain’s whistle to summon (the crew) to work or a meal: the hands were piped to breakfast
More example sentences
  • Leave hasn't been piped yet but the excitement of what lies ahead for our visit is growing throughout the ship.
  • The vessel was still almost a mile and a half inside Australian waters and then Hands to Boarding Stations was piped.
  • The sailors were piped to quarters.
3 [no object] (Of a bird) sing in a high or shrill voice: outside at the back a curlew piped
More example sentences
  • With sandpipers piping on the beach at Monterrey, we find Alison and Elliot at sunset over the Pacific.
  • Downy Woodpeckers piped softly in the woods, and a flicker yelped once or twice.
  • Up in the ash-trees the birds piped and sang merrily together.
3.1 [with direct speech] Say something in a high, shrill voice: ‘No, miss,’ piped Lucy
More example sentences
  • ‘All aboard, ladies and gentlemen,’ he piped cheerfully.
  • ‘Mr Reid,’ she piped in a voice that was a caricature of affability.
  • ‘Ben Germane's office,’ the whiny voice piped from the other end of the receiver.
4 [with object] Decorate (clothing or soft furnishings) with thin cord covered in fabric and inserted into a seam.
Example sentences
  • I saw a cute little waistcoat in a Burda magazine, done in gingham fabric, piped all around the edges, and on the back was a placket done up with ties.
  • Cover a school notebook with a sturdy denim cover piped with orange trim.
  • This bag sports piped seams and hardware of nickel-plated solid brass for long life and good looks.
5Arrange (food, particularly icing or cream) in decorative lines or patterns: she had been piping cream round a flan
More example sentences
  • Arrange the pasta squares on a flat work surface and pipe the ricotta filling across the bottom half of the squares.
  • Lay the four crêpes on a surface and pipe the maple pastry cream into the center of each.
  • Place three fishcakes on each plate and pipe a line of mayo down each side.
6 [with object] Propagate (a pink or similar plant) by taking a cutting at the joint of a stem.


put that in your pipe and smoke it

informal Used to indicate that the person addressed will have to accept a particular situation, even if it is unwelcome.
Example sentences
  • Her favorite saying was, ‘Well, put that in your pipe and smoke it,’ after which she would immediately catch herself and tell us not to smoke anything, and then she'd ask us to forget she said that.
  • I'm guessing he will have bottled up all that anger in the hope of exacting revenge and being in the position to tell Jimmy to ‘put that in his pipe and smoke it’ or something similar.
  • Three months of Boy Scouts when I was eight cured me of that scene once and for all, and you can put that in your pipe and smoke it, amigo.

Phrasal verbs


pipe someone away (or down)

Nautical Dismiss someone from duty.

pipe something away

Nautical Give a signal for a boat to start.

pipe down

[often in imperative] informal Stop talking; be less noisy: pipe down, will you, I’m on the phone
More example sentences
  • ‘Gentlemen,’ he said, preening his moustache as we eventually piped down.
  • This is an election year, and I think we're in desperate trouble and it's time for people to speak up and not pipe down.
  • There comes a point when you need to pipe down to let someone else talk.
be quiet, quieten down, be silent, fall silent, hush, stop talking, hold one's tongue
informal shut up, shut one's face/mouth/trap/gob, button up, button it/one's lip, belt up, wrap up, wrap it up, put a sock in it
North American informal can it

pipe up

Say something suddenly: [with direct speech]: ‘I’ll go,’ I piped up
More example sentences
  • ‘You'll adore the cottage,’ George pipes up suddenly.
  • Then Dad's work colleague, Martin, suddenly pipes up, ‘I hear you're following in Geoff's footsteps?’
  • ‘This just shows his personal agenda,’ Josh pipes up.



Pronunciation: /ˈpʌɪpfʊl/
noun (plural pipefuls)
Example sentences
  • He gets out his stash and begins putting a pipeful together.
  • He was a friendly neighbour and sociable man, always with enough time to smoke a pipeful of good tobacco.
  • It tasted appropriately archaic, like a library full of old leatherbound books where someone's been smoking a pipeful of something aromatic.


Example sentences
  • The drug is like crack, only more addictive, more sinister, and pipeless.
  • If you've always wanted to add bath oils or soaps to your whirlpool tub, take a look at this pipeless model.
  • Ask any professional organist about which pipeless organ is the best, and they're likely to respond, ‘Rodgers, of course!’




Old English pīpe 'musical tube', pīpian 'play a pipe', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch pijp and German Pfeife, based on Latin pipare 'to peep, chirp', reinforced in Middle English by Old French piper 'to chirp, squeak'.

  • The Old English word pipe goes back to Latin pipare ‘to chirp, squeak’. It first referred to a simple tube-shaped wind instrument, from which came the meanings ‘a tube used to convey water or other fluid’ (Old English) and, when tobacco was first brought to Europe in the mid 16th century, ‘a device for smoking tobacco’. People have been told to put that in your pipe and smoke it, or accept what has been done, since the 1820s, and Charles Dickens used the phrase in The Pickwick Papers (1837). In piping hot, ‘very hot’, piping refers to the hissing and sizzling of food just taken from the oven or off a fire. This phenomenon has been remarked on down the centuries, with the earliest recorded example being in The Miller's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer. Pipe dream meaning ‘fanciful hope’ dates from the late 19th century referring to a dream experienced when smoking an opium pipe.

Words that rhyme with pipe

gripe, hype, mistype, ripe, sipe, skype, slype, snipe, stripe, swipe, tripe, type, wipe

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pipe

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