AskDefine | Define sump

Dictionary Definition



1 an oil reservoir in an internal combustion engine
2 a well or other hole in which water has collected
3 a covered cistern; waste water and sewage flow into it [syn: cesspool, cesspit, sink]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A hollow or pit into which liquid drains, such as a cesspool, cesspit or sink.
  2. The lowest part of a mine shaft into which water drains.
  3. The crankcase or oil reservoir of an internal combustion engine.
  4. The pit at the lowest point in a circulating or drainage system. (FM 55-501)


Derived terms

Extensive Definition

A sump is a low space that collects any often-undesirable liquids such as water or chemicals.
An example is the oil pan of an engine. The oil is used to lubricate the engine's moving parts and it pools in a reservoir, known as a sump, at the bottom of the engine. Use of a sump requires the engine to be mounted slightly higher to make space for it. Oil in the sump can surge during hard cornering, starving the oil pump; for these reasons, race engines are "dry sumped" using scavenge pumps and a swirl tank to separate oil from air which is also sucked up by the pumps.
One common example of a sump is the lowest point in a basement into which any water that seeps in flows. If this is a regular problem, a sump pump that moves the water outside of the house may be used. If the building is a nuclear power plant's reactor housing, the role of the sump will be to collect any overflow of primary loop coolant; in this case, monitoring and pumping of the sump is an important part of the reactor's safety system.
Another example is in an aquarium, mainly a reef system. The sump sits below the main tank and is used as a filter, as well as a holding place of unsightly equipment such as heaters and protein skimmers. The main advantage of having a sump plumbed into an aquarium is the increase of water in the system, making it more stable and less prone to fluctuations of pH and salinity.
A diving snorkel can have a sump section located below the mouthpiece. This allows excess moisture from the breath and liquid from the ocean to settle and remain in the sump, so that it doesn't impair the snorkeler's breathing.
In medieval cosmology the sump was the center of the cosmos, where the dregs and filth descended, with the celestial sphere far exalted above the world of fallen man.
The equivalent of a sump on a boat is the bilge.


sump in Norwegian: Pumpesump
sump in Swedish: Sump

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

artificial lake, baygall, bayou lake, bog, bottom, bottomland, bottoms, buffalo wallow, cesspool, cistern, cloaca, cloaca maxima, dam, dead water, dike, drain, dump, etang, everglade, farm pond, fen, fenland, fishpond, freshwater lake, garbage dump, glacial lake, glade, gutter, headchute, hog wallow, holm, inland sea, kennel, lagoon, laguna, lake, lakelet, landlocked water, linn, loch, lough, marais, marish, marsh, marshland, meadow, mere, millpond, millpool, mire, moor, moorland, morass, moss, mud, mud flat, nyanza, oxbow lake, peat bog, piscina, plash, pond, pondlet, pool, puddle, quag, quagmire, quicksand, reservoir, salina, salt marsh, salt pond, scupper, septic tank, sewer, sink, slob land, slough, sluice, sough, stagnant water, standing water, still water, swale, swamp, swampland, taiga, tank, tarn, tidal pond, volcanic lake, wallow, wash, water hole, water pocket, well
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