tube [toob, tyoob] Word Origin noun

  1. a hollow, usually cylindrical body of metal, glass, rubber, or other material, used especially for conveying or containing liquids or gases.
  2. a small, collapsible, cylinder of metal or plastic sealed at one end and having a capped opening at the other from which paint, toothpaste, or some other semifluid substance may be squeezed.
  3. Anatomy, Zoology. any hollow, cylindrical vessel or organ: the bronchial tubes.
  4. Botany.
    1. any hollow, elongated body or part.
    2. the united lower portion of a gamopetalous corolla or a gamosepalous calyx.
  5. inner tube.
  6. Electronics. electron tube.
  7. Informal.
    1. television.
    2. a television set.
  8. mailing tube.
  9. the tubular tunnel in which an underground railroad runs.
  10. the railroad itself.
  11. Surfing Slang. the curled hollow formed on the underside of a cresting wave.
  12. British. subway(def 1).
  13. Australian Slang. a can of beer.
  14. Older Slang. a telescope.

verb (used with object), tubed, tub·ing.

  1. to furnish with a tube or tubes.
  2. to convey or enclose in a tube.
  3. to form into the shape of a tube; make tubular.


  1. down the tube/tubes, Informal. into a ruined, wasted, or abandoned state or condition.

Origin of tube First recorded in 1590–1600, tube is from the Latin word tubus pipeRelated formstube·less, adjectivetube·like, adjectivemul·ti·tube, adjective British Dictionary definitions for down the tube tube noun

  1. a long hollow and typically cylindrical object, used for the passage of fluids or as a container
  2. a collapsible cylindrical container of soft metal or plastic closed with a cap, used to hold viscous liquids or pastes
  3. anatomy
    1. short for Eustachian tube, Fallopian tube
    2. any hollow cylindrical structure
  4. botany
    1. the lower part of a gamopetalous corolla or gamosepalous calyx, below the lobes
    2. any other hollow structure in a plant
  5. the tube British
    1. Also called: the undergroundan underground railway systemUS and Canadian equivalent: subway
    2. the tunnels through which the railway runs
    3. the train itself
    4. (capital) trademarkthe London underground railway system
  6. electronics
    1. another name for valve (def. 3)
    2. See electron tube, cathode-ray tube, television tube
  7. the tube slang a television set
  8. British slang a stupid or despicable person
  9. Australian slang a bottle or can of beer
  10. surfing the cylindrical passage formed when a wave breaks and the crest tips forward
  11. an archaic word for telescope

verb (tr)

  1. to fit or supply with a tube or tubes
  2. to carry or convey in a tube
  3. to shape like a tube

Derived Formstubeless, adjectivetube-like, adjectiveWord Origin for tube C17: from Latin tubus Word Origin and History for down the tube tube n.

1610s, from Middle French tube (mid-15c.), from Latin tubus “tube, pipe,” of unknown origin. The London subway was christened the Twopenny Tube before it even opened (H.D. Browne, in the “Londoner” of June 30, 1900); tube for “cylindrical railway tunnel” is attested from 1847. The meaning “TV as a medium” is from 1959, short for cathode ray tube or picture tube. Tube top as a women’s clothing style is attested from 1972. Tube steak is attested from 1963 as “frankfurter,” slang meaning “penis” is recorded by mid-1980s. Tubing as a recreational pastime is recorded from 1975.

down the tube in Medicine tube [tōōb] n.

  1. A hollow cylinder, especially one that conveys a fluid or functions as a passage.
  2. An anatomical structure or organ having the shape or function of a tube; a duct.

Idioms and Phrases with down the tube tube

see down the tubes.

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