AskDefine | Define plunger

Dictionary Definition



1 someone who risks losses for the possibility of considerable gains [syn: speculator]
2 someone who dives (into water) [syn: diver]
3 hand tool consisting of a stick with a rubber suction cup at one end; used to clean clogged drains [syn: plumber's helper]
4 mechanical device that has a plunging or thrusting motion [syn: piston]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A device that is used to remove blockages from a toilet or sink by suction.
  2. The remote sliding activator of an explosive device.
  3. The part of a cafetière that is pushed down to remove grounds from coffee.
  4. One who plunges.



device for removing blockages by suction
remote sliding activator of an explosive device
part of cafetière
one who plunges

Extensive Definition

A plunger is a common device used to release stoppages in plumbing. The tool consists of a rubber cup with an attached stick "shaft", usually made of wood or bronze. The cup is pushed down against the drain, and either pressed hard into the drain to force air in, or is pushed down until the rubber cup is flattened, then pulled out, causing a vacuum. The intent is to loosen or break up a clog, excessive material, or other blockage in a sink, toilet, bathtub, shower, etc.
A plunger is much more effective when there is water in the pipe because water does not compress and will thus transmit more of the applied force than air.
When a plunger is ineffective, it is often supplemented by a chemical drain opener. If necessary, a plumber may need to be called.


There are two basic types of plungers: toilet and sink. A sink plunger, pictured at right, has a flat rim designed to fit over a sink, bathtub, shower, or similar opening to form a seal. A toilet plunger, pictured at the left in the image above, has a flange designed to fit into the bottom of a flush toilet bowl, with the flange entering into the exit pipe, forming a seal. The flange of a toilet plunger can be flipped up inside the plunger in order to use it as a sink plunger. If one is going to have only one plunger on hand, a toilet plunger is more versatile.
A third type of plunger is called a "Taze Plunger." The taze plunger is specifically sized to barely fit inside a pipe, and to use pressure to force a blockage through. The side of the taze plunger should scrape against the side of the pipe. The taze plunger is attached to a several-foot-long solid steel bar, and is inserted down a length of pipe to clear a running trap. The bar must be steel, or the pressure generated by its use would break or deform it.


External links

plunger in German: Saugglocke (Sanitärtechnik)
plunger in Spanish: Sopapa
plunger in French: Ventouse (fixation)
plunger in Italian: Sturalavandino
plunger in Japanese: ラバーカップ
plunger in Polish: Przepychacz sanitarny
plunger in Portuguese: Desentupidor
plunger in Russian: Вантуз
plunger in Simple English: Plunger
plunger in Finnish: Karhupumppu

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adventurer, betting ring, bettor, big operator, boneshaker, cardshark, cardsharp, cardsharper, compulsive gambler, crap shooter, deep-sea diver, diver, free diver, frogman, gambler, gamester, gunslinger, hazarder, jumper, lame duck, margin purchaser, operator, parachute jumper, pearl diver, petty gambler, piker, player, punter, scalper, scuba diver, sharp, sharper, sharpie, skin diver, sky diver, smart operator, snorkel diver, speculator, sport, sporting man, sportsman, stag, tinhorn, tipster, tout, venturer, wagerer
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