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downcomer, n.

Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Formed within English, by derivation. Etymons: down- prefix, comer n.

 1. A person who or thing which comes down to a place. Cf. to come down at come v. Phrasal verbs 1.

1847   Freeman's Jrnl. (Dublin) 10 June   To all down comers the railway management holds out the tempting offer of ‘return tickets’—to our Howth people it gives no such thing.
1875   Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) 26 Apr. 2/3   Ours and the returning steamer were to meet. Ours sought a safe position..to afford room for the down-comer.
1902   E. Aria in G. R. Sims Living London II. 187/2   Shoulder to shoulder they fight for every step, the downcomers and the upgoers seem as if they would never extricate themselves.
a1965   W. C. Handy Thunder from Sea (1973) ii. viii. 94   He turned into Haavao's Path of War... When little stones came rolling down upon him, he would have hidden among the bamboos, but the down-comer called to him, ‘Kaoha, Little Coconut.’
2003   V. O. Carter Such Sweet Thunder 427   He shook the hands of the downcomers and asked if it was their wish to join St. John's Baptist Church.

1847—2003(Hide quotations)


 2. Engineering. A pipe or tube which conveys liquid or gases downwards; esp. one in a blast furnace for conveying hot gases downwards and into a dust collector (cf. downcome n. 2).

1868   J. C. Atkinson Gloss. Cleveland Dial.   Down-comer, the pipe (of iron or other material) which receives the collected eaves-drainage, and conveys it down the side of the house to the ground.
1880   Jrnl. U.S. Assoc. Charcoal Iron Workers 1 14   The gas down-comer is about 3 feet in diameter, and terminates in a conical washing box, in which the dust is deposited.
1910   Chambers's Jrnl. Jan. 60/2   At the extremities of the two drums are large tubular connections, the uptake being at the front end (where the hottest temperatures prevail), and the downcomer outside the furnace at the rear end, which is practically cool.
1950   Engineering 30 June 722/2   Fed from the steam and water drum through downcomer tubes.
2016   A. Silvello & P. Cavaliere in P. Cavaliere Ironmaking & Steelmaking Processes: Greenhouse Emissions, Control, & Reduction ix. 156   The gas descends in the downcomer to the ‘dust catcher’.

1868—2016(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2018).

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