gen·​er·​a·​tor | \ ˈje-nə-ˌrā-tər How to pronounce generator (audio) \

Definition of generator

1 : one that generates: such as
a : an apparatus in which vapor or gas is formed
b : a machine by which mechanical energy is changed into electrical energy
2 : a mathematical entity that when subjected to one or more operations yields another mathematical entity or its elements specifically : generatrix

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Did You Know?

Generators work by rotating a coil of wire in a magnetic field, causing a current to flow in the wire. A generator may be a huge spinning turbine powered by water, wind, steam, gas, or nuclear reactions, which sends electricity out through power lines to thousands of customers. But normally when we use the word, we're thinking of a small machine powered by gasoline or diesel, such as you might keep in your basement for those times when a storm knocks out your power, to create electricity right in front of your eyes. A special kind of generator called an alternator powers a car's electrical system (including its lights, power steering, etc.) while the car is running.

Examples of generator in a Sentence

This new product will be a major revenue generator. a backup generator for the store
Recent Examples on the Web In this case, the team will want to research and ultimately acquire another data generator, an application performance monitoring tool that is the best for providing visibility on application health. Elik Eizenberg, Forbes, "What AIOps Do You Need Today?," 10 May 2021 This car is like an ordinary hybrid with a battery and motor-generator. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: How to get around the city, mass shootings, war, hope," 18 Apr. 2021 That bit of plutonium aboard the spacecraft runs its radio-thermal generator (RTG), a nuclear power source that should keep it operating until the late 2030s. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "After Visiting Pluto, NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft Reaches Another Cosmic Milestone," 16 Apr. 2021 Nearby, a generator hummed beside a well, sending water pouring through a thick hose to a storage tank for construction. azcentral, "Trump's border wall scarred sacred lands, displaced wildlife and drained water. Can it be taken down?," 15 Apr. 2021 The request was for an aluminum boat for up to five people, with an onboard generator and 150-horsepower motor, and a cruising speed of 37 mph. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, "DeBerry, Salazar spar over sheriff's request to accept $20,000 gift for search and rescue boat," 6 Apr. 2021 Other features of the property include a commercial generator, washer and dryer connections, satellite Internet, and a private dock., "Home of the Week: The trout don’t want you to buy this Maine lodge," 2 Apr. 2021 Or at the least, a revenue generator for artists in a medium that’s had an uncomfortable relationship with traditional institutions and collectors. Christopher Borrelli,, "What is NFT art? Chicago artists explain the goldrush, as one collection by Beeple brings in $69 million," 20 Mar. 2021 Every Grand Wagoneer comes standard with four-wheel drive and a 471-hp 6.4-liter V-8 engine; the Wagoneer is standard with rear-wheel drive and a 5.7-liter V-8 with a 48-volt starter-generator system. Annie White, Car and Driver, "2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Priced Like Cadillac Escalade, Hits Six Figures," 11 Mar. 2021

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

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for generator

Time Traveler

The first known use of generator was in 1646

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Statistics for generator

Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Generator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for generator



English Language Learners Definition of generator

: something that produces something especially : a machine that produces electricity


gen·​er·​a·​tor | \ ˈje-nə-ˌrā-tər How to pronounce generator (audio) \

Kids Definition of generator

: a machine that produces electricity

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