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Erroneous Definition of ‘Siphon’ To Be Rectified

May 10, 2010

If you used dictionary to learn about the principle of siphon then probably you have got it all wrong. A century old error in definition of siphon is going to be rectified in revised edition of Oxford Dictionary, thanks to Dr. Stephen Hughes. Since 1911, siphon has been defined in Oxford dictionary as “A pipe or tube of glass, metal or other material, bent so that one leg is longer than the other, and used for drawing off liquids by means of atmospheric pressure, which forces the liquid up the shorter leg and over the bend in the pipe.” But it’s not the atmospheric pressure that drives the flow of liquid rather the gravity. Somehow no one noticed this error in the dictionary and so was never reported until last year when Dr Hughes identified the error. Any dictionary you pickup and even most of the encyclopedia will give the same definition, exception being Britannica encyclopaedia.”An extensive check of online and offline dictionaries did not reveal a single dictionary that correctly referred to gravity being the operative force in a siphon,” Dr Hughes said.[]

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