Science Word Wednesday: Pipette

Sep 30, 2020
By Katie Acken Lowe


(Noun or verb. /pie-PET/)

What does it mean? 

A pipette is a mechanical instrument used to measure a precise volume of liquid.  

Once measured, the liquid is then transferred into a tube, beaker or other vessel.

There are many different types of pipettes used for specific purposes, such as single channel pipettes, multi-channel pipettes, serological pipettes, and Pasteur pipettes (see images below).

Before mechanical pipettes were invented, scientists had to mouth pipette.

What are the different types of pipettes?

As stated above, pipettes come in different shapes and sizes, and each type serves a specific purpose.

A single channel pipette. This is one of the most commonly used pipette varieties and is used to transfer one volume of liquid at a time. 

A multi-channel pipette.
These pipettes are useful for transferring equal volumes of liquid into multiple tubes or vessels.











A serological pipette. Also referred to as an electronic pipette or a propipetter. These pipettes are ideal for transferring larger volumes of liquid.

A glass pasteur pipette. Some chemicals must be pipetted with glass, not plastic.






How do I use it in a sentence?

I use my pipette every day to transfer liquids. (noun)

Pipette 4 uL of chemical X and add it to the mixture. (verb)

Related terms

Pipette can also be spelled pipet. These spellings are used interchangeably and have the same pronunciation, although everyone sounds a little different when they say it.

Fields of study in which this word is commonly used

Almost every field of life science uses pipettes in the lab! Chemistry, biology, biochemistry, neuroscience, genetics, immunology, etc.

Edited by Emma Goldberg Anna Wheless