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

Men use cranes to nudge parts of a massive generator into place., "What technology looked like 115 years ago," 23 June 2019 DeSantis vetoed $150,000 in funding for a permanent backup generator at a community center in Hollywood that would be used as a staging location during hurricanes. Skyler Swisher,, "Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed $131 million in projects from his $91 billion budget. Which got the ax in South Florida?," 21 June 2019 With his mother disabled in a car wreck and struggling to pay the bills, for two months the pair lived off a generator to provide electricity with still no hot water in the home. John Whisler,, "San Antonio’s Henry Arredondo uses boxing to rise above," 20 June 2019 On June 9, a scooter was reported stolen from a fenced-in yard in the 900 block of Circle Drive, and a generator was stolen from the back porch of a home in the 900 block of Courtney Road. Cody Boteler,, "Five burglaries reported in Arbutus-Halethorpe area: Crime log for Wilkens Police Precinct:," 18 June 2019 Others sell pens, food items and foreign currency while a generator powered a photocopy machine. Fox News, "'We are trapped': Zimbabwe's economic crunch hits passports," 16 June 2019 The 48-volt system uses a starter generator and under-floor battery to recover and store energy that's normally wasted in braking. Houston Chronicle, "Range Rover Evoque gets added finesse, mild-hybrid versions," 14 June 2019 The turbine spins a generator to produce electricity. Christina Nunez, National Geographic, "Hydropower, explained," 13 May 2019 The move by Facebook dampens the sales outlook for Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, whose smartphone business became its biggest revenue generator last year, powered by strong growth in Europe and Asia. NBC News, "Facebook suspends app pre-installs on Huawei phones," 7 June 2019

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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Statistics for generator

Last Updated

26 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for generator

The first known use of generator was in 1646

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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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Comments on generator

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


to complain fretfully

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