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

Walking through the metal detectors at Wrigley Field, people are asked to empty their pockets of keys, cell phones and wallets. Bobby Nightengale,, "Joey Votto has trouble making it past Wrigley Field security before Cincinnati Reds game," 7 July 2018 Instead of just walking into the free zoo as is the case now, all zoo goers would be required to pass through metal detectors and a bag-check. Carson Kessler, Fortune, "Visitors at D.C.'s National Zoo Might Soon Have to Go Through Heightened Security," 6 July 2018 After going through metal detectors, guests were treated to a ranch-style cookout, where BBQ was offered at turns and bars supplied Hennessy. Steven J. Horowitz, Billboard, "Kanye West and Kid Cudi Debut 'Kids See Ghosts' Album in Santa Clarita," 8 June 2018 Sports bags will be allowed but must pass through the metal detectors. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, "Marshall County school district bans backpacks after school shooting," 7 June 2018 Security was top of mind for the luncheon guests who filed through special metal detectors staffed with additional guards who searched attendee belongings. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Israeli ambassador predicts economic power will bring peace," 4 June 2018 Visitors had to walk through metal detectors in order to gain access to the town center. Caity Weaver, New York Times, "I Also Went to the Royal Wedding," 24 May 2018 For the first time, every person who entered the stadium had to go through metal detectors operated by the company that handles security at Gillette Stadium. Laurie Loisel,, "CNN anchor Jake Tapper urges UMass Amherst graduates to rise above the current political darkness," 12 May 2018 But unlike other shelter operators, Metanoia does not require people to show identification, register on a database, pass through metal detectors or empty their pockets. Mark Naymik,, "Homeless advocate needs help tackling disturbing trends: Mark Naymik," 30 Mar. 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

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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).


to express warning or disapproval

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