AskDefine | Define muffler

Dictionary Definition



1 a tubular acoustic device inserted in the exhaust system that is designed to reduce noise [syn: silencer]
2 a scarf worn around the neck
3 a device that decreases the amplitude of electronic, mechanical, acoustical, or aerodynamic oscillations [syn: damper]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Part of the exhaust pipe of a car that dampens the noise the engine produces.
  2. A type of scarf.



part of exhaust pipe
  • Hungarian: sál, nyaksál

Extensive Definition

A muffler (or silencer in British English) is a device for reducing the amount of noise emitted by a machine. On internal combustion engines, the engine exhaust blows out through the muffler. The internal combustion engine muffler or silencer was developed in parallel with the firearm suppressor by Hiram Percy Maxim.


Mufflers are typically installed along the exhaust pipe as part of the exhaust system of an internal combustion engine (of a vehicle, or stationary) to reduce its exhaust noise. The muffler accomplishes this with a resonating chamber, which is specifically tuned to cause destructive interference, where opposite sound waves cancel each other out.
Catalytic converters also often have a muffling effect. The effect is mainly generated largely by restriction, rather than by cancellation.


Mufflers that reduced backpressure relative to earlier models became increasingly available in the late 20th century, and resulted in increased engine efficiency, performance, power output, and simultaneously decreased overall wear and tear on the engines' components, as well as sound to levels in compliance with the law.

Types and positions of mufflers

  • With cars, lengthwise underneath, blowing backwards at the rear
  • to the sides before the rear wheels.
  • With large diesel-powered trucks:-
    • Mounted vertically behind the cab
    • Crosswise under the front of the cab, blowing sideways.
  • With motorcycles:
    • Usually, beside the engine and rear wheel blowing backwards.
    • In more modern motorcycles, under the seat blowing backwards from under the back of the seat. (Under-slung)
    • Under-engine exhausts first reached popularity with Buell motorcycles, though by 2008 most Japanese manufactures began using the under-engine design as well.
Motorcycle enthusiasts sometimes use the term "raygun," or "pea-shooter" for the old shape of motorcycle exhaust silencer/muffler with a long straight cylindrical barrel that merged roundedly at each end into the pipe, as in this image and this image.

See also

muffler in French: Silencieux (mécanique)
muffler in Italian: Silenziatore (motore)
muffler in Japanese: マフラー (原動機)
muffler in Polish: Tłumik
muffler in Russian: Глушитель (акустический фильтр)
muffler in Swedish: Ljuddämpare (motorfordon)
muffler in Chinese: 消音器

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

PCV valve, Roman collar, accelerator, acoustic tile, alternator, ammeter, antiknock, baffler, band, bandanna, bearings, bertha, boa, bonnet, boot, bowtie, brake, bucket seat, bumper, button-down collar, camshaft, carburetor, celluloid collar, chassis, choke, choker, clerical collar, cloak, clutch, collar, comforter, connecting rod, convertible top, cover, cowl, crank, crankcase, crankshaft, cravat, cushion, cutout, cylinder, cylinder head, damp, dampener, damper, dash, dashboard, differential, disguise, distributor, dog collar, exhaust, exhaust pipe, facade, fan, fender, flywheel, four-in-hand, fur, gag, gear, gearbox, gearshift, generator, guimpe, guise, headlight, headrest, hood, horn, hushcloth, ignition, intake, kerchief, manifold, masquerade, muffle, mute, muzzle, neckband, neckcloth, neckerchief, neckpiece, necktie, parking light, piston, plunging neckline, power brakes, power steering, quietener, radiator, rear-view mirror, ruff, scarf, seat belt, shawl, shock absorber, silence cloth, silencer, soft pedal, sordine, sordino, sound-absorbing material, soundproofing, soundproofing insulation, sourdine, spark plug, speedometer, springs, starter, steering wheel, stock, stole, tallith, tie, tippet, top, transmission, tucker, universal, valve, veil, veneer, windscreen, windshield, wrap
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