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va·por (vāpər)
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n.
1. The gaseous state of a substance that is liquid or solid at room temperature.
2. A faintly visible suspension of fine particles of matter in the air, as mist, fumes, or smoke.
3. A mixture of fine droplets of a substance and air, as the fuel mixture of an internal-combustion engine.
4. Archaic
a. Something insubstantial, worthless, or fleeting.
b. A fantastic or foolish idea.
5. vapors Archaic
a. Exhalations within a bodily organ, especially the stomach, supposed to affect the mental or physical condition. Used with the.
b. A nervous disorder such as depression or hysteria. Used with the.
v. va·pored, va·por·ing, va·pors
v. tr.
1. To fill or cover with vapor: Perfume vapored the room.
2. To vaporize: “You wished you'd seen one of the monster shots that vapored an atoll way back when” (Don DeLillo).
v. intr.
1. To give off vapor.
2. To evaporate: The fog vapored away.
3. To engage in idle, boastful talk: vapored on about his accomplishments.

[Middle English vapour, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin vapor; akin to vapidus, flat (of wine), vapid, and vappa, wine that has lost its flavor, flat wine (with expressive geminate -pp-), all apparently from a Latin root vap-, perhaps “to give off steam or vapor,” of unknown origin.]

vapor·er n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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