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Insulating material or a very poor conductor of electric current. Dielectrics have no loosely bound electrons, and so no current flows through them. When they are placed in an electric field, the positive and negative charges within the dielectric are displaced minutely in opposite directions, which reduces the electric field within the dielectric. Examples of dielectrics include glass, plastics, and ceramics.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on dielectric, visit Britannica.com.