See also: Tube


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From Middle French tube, from Latin tubus (tube, pipe).



tube (plural tubes)

  1. Anything that is hollow and cylindrical in shape.
    • 1879, Richard Jefferies, chapter 1, The Amateur Poacher:
      But then I had the [massive] flintlock by me for protection. ¶ [] The linen-press and a chest on the top of it formed, however, a very good gun-carriage; and, thus mounted, aim could be taken out of the window […], and a 'bead' could be drawn upon Molly, the dairymaid, kissing the fogger behind the hedge, little dreaming that the deadly tube was levelled at them.
  2. An approximately cylindrical container, usually with a crimped end and a screw top, used to contain and dispense semi-liquid substances.
    A tube of toothpaste.
  3. (UK, colloquial, often capitalized as Tube) The London Underground railway system, originally referred to the lower level lines that ran in tubular tunnels as opposed to the higher ones which ran in rectangular section tunnels. (Often the tube.)
    No mate, I am taking the tube!
  4. (Australia, slang) A tin can containing beer (or other beverage?).
    • 1995, Sue Butler, Lonely Planet Australian Phrasebook: Language Survival Kit
      Tinnie: a tin of beer — also called a tube.
    • 2002, Andrew Swaffer, Katrina O'Brien, Darroch Donald, Footprint Australia Handbook: The Travel Guide [text repeated in Footprint West Coast Australia Handbook (2003)]
      Beer is also available from bottleshops (or bottle-o's') in cases (or 'slabs') of 24-36 cans (‘tinnies' or ‘tubes') or bottles (‘stubbies') of 375 ml each.
    • 2004, Paul Matthew St. Pierre, Portrait of the Artist as Australian: L'Oeuvre Bizarre de Barry Humphries
      That Humphries should imply that, in the Foster's ads, Hogan's ocker appropriated McKenzie's discourse (specifically the idiom "crack an ice-cold tube") reinforces my contention.
  5. (surfing) A wave which pitches forward when breaking, creating a hollow space inside.
  6. (North America, colloquial) A television. Also, derisively, boob tube. British: telly
    Are you just going to sit around all day and watch the tube?

Usage notesEdit

Use for beer can was popularised in UK by a long-running series of advertisements for Foster's lager, where Paul Hogan used a phrase "crack an ice-cold tube" previously associated with Barry Humphries' character Barry McKenzie. (For discussion of this see Paul Matthew St. Pierre's book cited above.)


Derived termsEdit



tube (third-person singular simple present tubes, present participle tubing, simple past and past participle tubed)

  1. To make or use tubes
    She tubes lipstick.
    They tubed down the Colorado River.

See alsoEdit




From Latin tubus (tube, pipe).



tube m (plural tubes)

  1. pipe
  2. tube
  3. (music) a hit
  4. (slang) Money




tube f

  1. plural form of tuba




  1. vocative singular of tubus
Last modified on 18 April 2014, at 04:45