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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
pneumatic drill
▪ Minutes later he was making a noise like a pneumatic drill.
▪ At 100 decibels, the level produced by a chain saw or pneumatic drill, the allowable exposure is three hours.
▪ By that time the cinema had closed down, sold to a firm making fibreglass covers for pneumatic drills.
▪ Now imagine men are trying to break in using pneumatic drills.
▪ Perry, in a fishing jacket, moving like a marionette that swallowed a pneumatic drill.
▪ Her left arm by her side, her right elbow out at an angle and her forearm shaking like a pneumatic drill.
▪ For years the city vibrated to the sound of diggers and pneumatic drills.
pneumatic tires
▪ A system of pneumatic tubes moves everything along.
▪ At 100 decibels, the level produced by a chain saw or pneumatic drill, the allowable exposure is three hours.
▪ It is worth remembering that the first pneumatic bicycle tyre appeared on a cinder track in Portadown in August 1889.
▪ Now imagine men are trying to break in using pneumatic drills.
▪ Other nights, I listened to pneumatic tubes, and I was a doll on a shelf in a cavernous department store.
▪ The latter has been adopted by Horstine Farmery to bring automated variable rate application to its range of pneumatic spreaders.
▪ The stories were mimeographed and stuffed into the brass and velvet cartridges which the pneumatic tubes ate.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Pneumatic \Pneu*mat"ic\, n. A vehicle, as a bicycle, the wheels of which are fitted with pneumatic tires. [archaic]


Pneumatic \Pneu*mat"ic\, Pneumatical \Pneu*mat"ic*al\, a. [L. pneumaticus, Gr. ?, fr. ?, ?, wind, air, ? to blow, breathe; cf. OHG. fnehan: cf. F. pneumatique. Cf. Pneumonia.]

  1. Consisting of, or resembling, air; having the properties of an elastic fluid; gaseous; opposed to dense or solid.

    The pneumatical substance being, in some bodies, the native spirit of the body.

  2. Of or pertaining to air, or to elastic fluids or their properties; pertaining to pneumatics; as, pneumatic experiments. ``Pneumatical discoveries.''

  3. Moved or worked by pressure or flow of air; as, a pneumatic instrument; a pneumatic engine.

  4. (Biol.) Fitted to contain air; Having cavities filled with air; as, pneumatic cells; pneumatic bones.

  5. Adapted for containing compressed air; inflated with air; as, a pneumatic cushion; a pneumatic tire, a tire formed of an annular tube of flexible fabric, as India rubber, suitable for being inflated with air.

    Pneumatic action, or Pneumatic lever (Mus.), a contrivance for overcoming the resistance of the keys and other movable parts in an organ, by causing compressed air from the wind chest to move them.

    Pneumatic dispatch, a system of tubes, leading to various points, through which letters, packages, etc., are sent, by the flow and pressure of air.

    Pneumatic elevator, a hoisting machine worked by compressed air.

    Pneumatic pile, a tubular pile or cylinder of large diameter sunk by atmospheric pressure.

    Pneumatic pump, an air-exhausting or forcing pump.

    Pneumatic railway. See Atmospheric railway, under Atmospheric.

    Pneumatic syringe, a stout tube closed at one end, and provided with a piston, for showing that the heat produced by compressing a gas will ignite substances.

    Pneumatic trough, a trough, generally made of wood or sheet metal, having a perforated shelf, and used, when filled with water or mercury, for collecting gases in chemical operations.

    Pneumatic tube. See Pneumatic dispatch, above.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1650s, from Latin pneumaticus "of the wind, belonging to the air," from Greek pneumatikos "of wind or air" (which is attested mainly as "of spirit, spiritual"), from pneuma (genitive pneumatos) "the wind," also "breath" (see pneuma). Earlier was pneumatical (c.1600).


a. 1 Of, relating to, or resembling air or other gases 2 Of or relating to pneumatics 3 power by, or filled with compressed air 4 (context zoology English) Having cavities filled with air 5 spiritual; of or relating to the pneuma 6 (context of a woman English) well-rounded; full-breasted; bouncy (especially during sex) n. 1 (cx dated English) A vehicle, such as a bicycle, whose wheels are fitted with pneumatic tyres. 2 (context gnosticism English) In the gnostic theologian Valentinus' triadic grouping of man, the highest type; a person focused on spiritual reality (the other two being hylic and psychic).


adj. of or relating to or using air (or a similar gas); "pneumatic drill"; "pneumatic tire"

Pneumatic (Gnosticism)

The pneumatics ("spiritual", from Greek , "spirit") were, in Gnosticism, the highest order of humans, the other two orders being psychics and hylics. A pneumatic saw itself as escaping the doom of the material world via the transcendent knowledge of Sophia's Divine Spark within the soul.

In the New Testament a contrast is made between the psychikoi and the pneumatikoi, in the former of whom the mere animal soul predominates, the latter exhibiting the working of a higher spiritual nature (; ; compare also ). In the Valentinian system this contrast is sharpened, and is made to depend on an original difference of nature between the two classes of men, a mythical theory being devised which professed to account for the origin of the different elements in men's nature; the psychic element being something higher and better than the mere material element, but immeasurably inferior to the pneumatic. It may well be believed that in the language of the Gnostic sects, the "pneumatici" are "spiritual men who have attained to the perfect knowledge of God, and been initiated into these mysteries by Achamoth" herself (Adv. Haer. I. 6, 1), ordinary Christians being branded as "psychici."

Such was also the use made of the latter word by Tertullian, who in his latest works, written after his Montanism had involved him in complete separation from the church, habitually uses the word Psychici to designate those from whom he had separated.

Usage examples of "pneumatic".

It works by pneumatic power, and does away with the old-fashioned method of starting an aeroplane by twisting the propeller.

The pneumatic sense, which is the only meaning borne by many passages, an assertion which neither Philo nor Clement ventured to make in plain terms, has with Origen a negatively apologetic and a positively didactic aim.

Pneumatic hammers were used successfully on the lead caulking, but were only used to a small extent on the rust borings, which were mostly hand caulked.

He settled back in his pneumatic chair, folded his hands comfortably over his fat middle, and beamed at Kirin with twinkling eyes that flashed under tufted brows.

You know -- things like diaphragms, slimming trunks, valves, medical sheaths and probes, urinary rubbers, colostomy tubing, diagnostic fingerstalls, sphygmomanometer bulbs, ostomy bags, veterinary gloves, soil test membranes, gaiters, diving hoods, neck and cuff seals, pneumatic face masks, shot blast capes, helmet covers, incontinence stockings, specialized prophylactics.

Shutting down the pneumatics on the jackhammer, Garrett lowered the bandanna that covered his nose and mouth.

He slapped the metal plate on the wall that operated the pneumatics, then turned toward the recovery room and gave the nurses the medication order to bring Burton completely out from under anesthesia.

By sundry means these wonder-works are made: some by pneumatics, some by strained ropes, some by springs that imitate lively motion.

Instead we had long, accordion-like barriers, made from sisal, that worked by a pneumatic pump located down in the basement.

The office, near the main door, though it was complete in every trick of telautograph and pneumatic chute, was not large, and it did not intrude on the lounges.

In Germany the Ariston player with thirty-six notes then the Hupfeld with sixty-one still no pneumatics till the Welte family patents its pneumatic Orchestrion operated with a perforated paper roll, in France Carpentier shows his Melograph and Melotrope to the French Academy, mechanical fingers brought to life by electromagnets and a perforated strip.

The bed node wheezed as it reinflated its cushiony pneumatic bladders.

Pneumatic transmission also proved to be much more reliable, more flexible, and to offer better tractive power on steep slopes and rough ground, and maximum speed was increased.

All there was at Makapuu Head was the lighthouse out on the Point and the one solid rock, and the Engineers across the highway with the pneumatic drills, digging and blasting into the cliff wall where the highway demolition would be.

And across the road the Engineers with their pneumatic drills digging the demolition listened to them sing and watched them enviously, and they knew the Engineers watched them and laughed and sang even more loudly.