dynamo

noun

dy·​na·​mo ˈdī-nə-ˌmō How to pronounce dynamo (audio)
plural dynamos
1
2
: a forceful energetic individual

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The dynamo was introduced in 1867 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.

Examples of dynamo in a Sentence

a dynamo who barely needs to sleep, or so it seems
Recent Examples on the Web The Dewalt 8-volt Max Cordless Screwdriver is a futuristic little dynamo! Sarah Halverson, Better Homes & Gardens, 29 May 2024 This sea of mobile electrons creates the dynamo that gives Jupiter its powerful magnetic field. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 May 2024 And for the production currently at the Savoy, high-school dynamo Mariam Faal plays the Debater. Lisa Kennedy, The Denver Post, 9 Feb. 2024 Pairing Coleman with dynamo Zay Flowers would stop that vicious cycle. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for dynamo 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dynamo.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

short for dynamo-electric machine, translation of German dynamo-elektrische Maschine; dynamo-elektrisch, probably by inversion of elektrodynamisch electrodynamic

Note: According to the Oxford English Dictionary (first edition, 1897), "The full name dynamo-electric machine was given by [Werner] Siemens in 1867, to distinguish his invention from the magneto-electric machines previously used, in which the electric current was generated by means of a permanent magnet." This statement appears to be based on a citation from The Times (December 5, 1882), according to which, "Professor Thompson [not further identified] said that the name 'dynamo-electric machine' was first applied by Dr. Werner Siemens in a communication made in January, 1867, to the Berlin Academy." The communication in question was "Ueber die Umwandlung von Arbeitskraft in elektrischen Strom ohne Anwendung permanenter Magnete," published in Annalen der Physik und Chemie, Band 130 (1867), pp. 332-35. The article does in fact describe a generator with rotating coils, but nowhere does Siemens use the word dynamo-elektrisch or the phrase dynamo-elektrische Maschine; the closest he comes is magnetelektrisch for the opposing term. The first appearance of dynamo-elektrisch must date some time after this.

First Known Use

1882, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dynamo was in 1882

Dictionary Entries Near dynamo

Cite this Entry

“Dynamo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dynamo. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

dynamo

noun
dy·​na·​mo ˈdī-nə-ˌmō How to pronounce dynamo (audio)
plural dynamos
1
2
: a forceful energetic person

More from Merriam-Webster on dynamo

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