de·tec·tor | \ di-ˈtek-tər \

Definition of detector 

: one that detects: such as

a : a device for detecting the presence of electromagnetic waves or of radioactivity

b : a rectifier of high-frequency current used especially for extracting the intelligence from a radio signal

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Synonyms for detector



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Examples of detector in a Sentence

using metal detectors to improve safety at airports a motion detector to thwart burglaries

Recent Examples on the Web

The South Pole is now the home of the world’s largest neutrino detector, IceCube. Smithsonian, "Scientists Explain The Thrill of Detecting a Neutrino From a Far-Off Galaxy," 12 July 2018 An animation of a flight from Earth's orbit into the IceCube detector in Antarctica, including a simulated neutrino event. Amina Khan,, "After years of searching, scientists finally trace high-energy neutrinos to a distant blazar," 12 July 2018 The new measures, which are expected to include metal detectors, are not in place yet because the privatization hasn't been completed, said Kim Kimbrough, executive director of the Westport Regional Business League. Robert A. Cronkleton And Katy Bergen, kansascity, "Westport shooting leaves 2 injured; privatization security measures weren't in place," 8 July 2018 The detector, from T2 Biosystems, of Lexington, Mass., finds and identifies the extremely rare bacterial cells in blood samples, rather than having to culture bacteria in a lab dish, which can take days. Karen Weintraub, STAT, "Sepsis is the third leading cause of death. Can a new blood test change that?," 3 July 2018 School districts can use the money for hiring police officers or school psychologists, adding metal detectors, or paying for violence-prevention programs or other initiatives. Gillian Mcgoldrick,, "Pa. approves $60 million for school safety," 22 June 2018 The can be seen crawling across the floor of the Smoking Glass shop at 4800 W. 34th to avoid tripping the motion detector, business owner owner Chris Durbin told Tuesday afternoon. Fernando Alfonso Iii, Houston Chronicle, "Security footage captures thief crawling on the floor of Houston smoke shop," 19 June 2018 Two radar detectors, valued at $500 each, were reported missing, police said. Todd Shields,, "Barrington Hills police: Thieves grab radar detectors after breaking into two cars," 15 June 2018 Although the add-on sensors, at roughly $200,000 apiece, are cheaper than operating stand-alone ocean bottom detectors, cable owners have been wary of affecting cable performance. Eric Hand, Science | AAAS, "Seafloor cables that carry the world’s internet traffic can also detect earthquakes," 14 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of detector

1541, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for detector

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for detector

The first known use of detector was in 1541

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More Definitions for detector



English Language Learners Definition of detector

: a device that can tell if a substance or object is present : a device that detects the presence of something


de·tec·tor | \ di-ˈtek-tər \

Medical Definition of detector 

: one that detects especially : a device for detecting the presence of electromagnetic waves or of radioactivity

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Comments on detector

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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