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siphon


To siphon liquid is to bring it up with a siphon. The idea is that you're emptying one container while filling another.

So, figuratively, to siphon something is to take it and gradually use it up or move it somewhere else, as if you're drawing it off with a siphon.

Pronunciation:
SIGH fun

Part of speech:
Verb,
usually the transitive kind:
"they siphoned the funds,"
"they siphoned off the funds from that program to this one."


Other forms:
siphoned, siphoning, siphoner(s), siphonic

How to use it:
This word has a slightly negative tone: often, it's sneaky and underhanded, if not flat-out illegal, to siphon things. And when we talk about people siphoning things in a figurative way, we're reminded of thieves who sneak in to literally siphon gasoline from a vehicle.

Talk about people, statements, decisions, actions, and events that siphon things.

What kinds of things get siphoned? Money, energy, interest, attention, power, votes, support, data, information, people's loyalty, people's talents, and even people themselves: "Their nation has siphoned thousands of doctors and scientists from ours."

Often you talk about siphoning things from, away from, to, or away to other things: "they siphoned votes away from the candidate," "they siphoned the funds from public to private schools."

You can also talk about siphoning things off (or siphoning off things): "the party siphoned all his energy off," "meditation helps them siphon off frustration and anxiety."

examples:
Afternoons at the pool siphoned off the kids' energy, and they napped easily.


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