al·​ter·​na·​tor | \ ˈȯl-tər-ˌnā-tər also ˈal- How to pronounce alternator (audio) \

Definition of alternator

: an electric generator for producing alternating current

Examples of alternator in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Mounted between the nine-speed automatic transmission and the engine output shaft, this motor-generator replaces the alternator and traditional starter motor. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "he 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE580 Has a Hybrid V-8 More Powerful Than an AMG GT," 22 May 2019 The alternator and wiring loom needed to be replaced, then Alonso crashed and hit the wall three times Wednesday. Jenna Fryer, The Seattle Times, "Alonso and McLaren miss Indy 500 on first day of qualifying," 18 May 2019 Freeing up the motor from having to run a cooling fan and alternator means more power makes it to the wheels. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "Ram 1500 eTorque: Why the Electrified Pickup Truck Is Even Better," 19 Sep. 2018 In cases like this, a lot of people install a 6-volt alternator or even convert to a 12-volt system, but a Cord is a very special vintage car. Jay Leno, Popular Mechanics, "How to Keep Classic Cars Road-Ready," 12 Dec. 2012 On top of that, there are all the parts—alternators, a/c compressors, whole engines—that get reused rather than manufactured anew. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "How to Hit the Junkyard," 27 Nov. 2018 If the engine is running, the alternator is producing so much extra electricity that the seat heaters can run indefinitely. Ray Magliozzi,, "Car Talk: It's Safe To Use Seat Heaters If Stranded In Snow," 11 July 2018 Both engines are mild hybrids, using the eTorque 48-volt starter-alternator Fiat Chrysler introduced on the 2019 Jeep Wrangler. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "2019 Ram 1500 adds features, loses weight, links Hemi V8 to mild-hybrid system," 15 Jan. 2018 Obviously there’s no need for another alternator, and electric motors are used to drive the water pump and the air-conditioning compressor. Csaba Csere, Car and Driver, "Nine Things You Must Know about the New Mercedes Inline-Six," 20 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alternator.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of alternator

1883, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about alternator

Statistics for alternator

Last Updated

5 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alternator

The first known use of alternator was in 1883

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for alternator



English Language Learners Definition of alternator

: a device that produces electricity (as in the engine of a vehicle) : a generator that produces alternating current

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on alternator

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with alternator

Spanish Central: Translation of alternator

Nglish: Translation of alternator for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alternator for Arabic Speakers

Comments on alternator

What made you want to look up alternator? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!