dy·​na·​mo | \ ˈdī-nə-ˌmō \
plural dynamos

Definition of dynamo

2 : a forceful energetic individual

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Synonyms for dynamo


fireball, live wire, pistol

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Did You Know?

The dynamo was introduced in 1832 to produce electricity for commercial use. Like all later generators, the original dynamos changed mechanical energy (produced by steam, which was itself produced by burning coal) into electricity. The word is less used today than it once was, since it's often applied only to generators that produced direct electric current (DC) rather than alternating current (AC), which is now the standard. A human dynamo is a person who seems to have unlimited energy, such as New York's legendary mayor Fiorello La Guardia, whose forcefulness and vigor matched that of his intensely dynamic city.

Examples of dynamo in a Sentence

a dynamo who barely needs to sleep, or so it seems

Recent Examples on the Web

Actress and YouTube dynamo Lilly Singh—queen of more than 2 billion views—shoots nine videos a week. Vogue, "Lilly Singh’s “Not a Morning Person” Morning Skin Routine," 10 Sep. 2018 The Wolfpack’s Ryan Finley doesn’t get to throw to do-it-all dynamo Jaylen Samuels anymore, but NC State should have a deep receiving corps. Andy Staples, SI.com, "Like It or Not, College Football Is Influencing the NFL," 12 July 2018 There was no doubt the Slovenian dynamo would leave immediately for the NBA as the most decorated international prospect in recent memory. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "The Last Best Player Not in the NBA," 30 Oct. 2018 Heat Engine: Hurricanes are massive dynamos powered by the evaporation of water and its subsequent recondensation into clouds and rain. Douglas Fox, Popular Mechanics, "How Do Hurricanes Form? Disaster Science Explained," 10 Sep. 2018 To celebrate 300k followers, here’s a first look at the return of Queen Constance...the one and only Lady Lange...being directed by that dynamo of wit and talent Sarah Paulson. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Ryan Murphy Finally Shared the First Look at Jessica Lange's Return to American Horror Story," 20 Sep. 2018 The biggest boost of all was midfield dynamo Joe Allen, signing a new four year contract. SI.com, "Why Peter Crouch May be Right to Stay at Stoke City," 8 July 2018 Plus, these dynamos will enable phones to shrink to the size of a box of Tic Tacs. Elle Decor Staff, ELLE Decor, "Cell Mates," 5 July 2012 Awkwafina gets a fun breakout role, Rihanna is the essence of cool, but the real comedy dynamo here is Anne Hathaway, playing a persnickety parody of herself. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Your ultimate Fourth of July movie guide: A suggestion for every holiday scenario," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dynamo.' 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 dynamo

1882, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dynamo

short for dynamoelectric machine

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Statistics for dynamo

Last Updated

29 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dynamo

The first known use of dynamo was in 1882

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More Definitions for dynamo



English Language Learners Definition of dynamo

: a machine that produces electricity
informal : someone who has a lot of energy


dy·​na·​mo | \ ˈdī-nə-ˌmō \
plural dynamos

Kids Definition of dynamo

1 : generator
2 : an energetic person

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More from Merriam-Webster on dynamo

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dynamo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dynamo

Spanish Central: Translation of dynamo

Nglish: Translation of dynamo for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dynamo

Comments on dynamo

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excited commotion or publicity

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