gen·​er·​a·​tor ˈje-nə-ˌrā-tər How to pronounce generator (audio)
: one that generates: such as
: an apparatus in which vapor or gas is formed
: a machine by which mechanical energy is changed into electrical energy
: a mathematical entity that when subjected to one or more operations yields another mathematical entity or its elements
specifically : generatrix

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 With tools like the AI video generator, Appy Pie ensures that every user, irrespective of their technical know-how, can achieve professional results. Jon Stojan, Detroit Free Press, 28 Feb. 2024 But the state still generates about 68% of its electricity from coal, though that number has declined from about 90% historically as the power generating industry closed coal plants and switched to generators powered by cheaper natural gas. Bruce Schreiner and Dylan Lovan, Quartz, 27 Feb. 2024 People up here are buying fuel today for backup generators and boarding up their windows. Paul Rogers, The Mercury News, 27 Feb. 2024 Similar to the discontinued BMW i3, the Fusilier will come in either a fully electric variant or with a gasoline engine that serves as a generator to power the 4x4’s battery pack. Michael Van Runkle, Forbes, 26 Feb. 2024 Much like large language models act like probability machines predicting the next word in a sentence, AI image generators are prone to stereotyping, reflecting the images most commonly associated with a word, according to American and European internet users. Nitasha Tiku, Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2024 To his right is a large pipe marked where the carbon-spewing generators used to connect to the rest of the snowmaking system. Popular Science, 21 Feb. 2024 The announcement of the accord comes after OpenAI on Thursday unveiled a stunningly realistic new AI text-to-video generator tool called Sora. Clare Duffy, CNN, 16 Feb. 2024 An ad supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s now-defunct campaign for Republican presidential nominee used an AI audio generator to mimic the voice of former president Donald Trump. Will Oremus, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of generator was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near generator

Cite this Entry

“Generator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


gen·​er·​a·​tor ˈjen-ə-ˌrāt-ər How to pronounce generator (audio)
: one that generates: as
: a piece of laboratory equipment in which vapor or gas is formed
: a machine by which mechanical energy is changed into electrical energy

More from Merriam-Webster on generator

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