gen·er·a·tor | \ ˈje-nə-ˌrā-tər \

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

That's how planners describe one of the chief generators of traffic. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "Stuck in traffic jams, asking who's to blame? The answer depends on who you ask.," 9 July 2018 The Conservative Party, once a generator of anti-LGBT laws, has belatedly wrapped itself in the rainbow flag. The Economist, "A culture war comes to Westminster," 5 July 2018 The Energy Northwest plant, 10 miles north of Richland, is the third-largest generator of electricity in Washington state. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Nuclear power plant near Tri-Cities is back online," 25 May 2018 But Penn National, which operates racinos and casinos under the Hollywood brand, seemed to acknowledge in a statement on Monday that slot machines would remain the biggest generator of money. Rich Exner,, "Sports betting is a big deal, but could amount to few new tax dollars for Ohio," 15 May 2018 The merger, which was initially announced in October, created the state's largest power producer and one of the nation's biggest generators of electricity. L.m. Sixel, Houston Chronicle, "Vistra cuts some 300 Houston jobs after Dynegy merger," 23 Apr. 2018 In recent years, the generators of new kinds of raw data have been exploding. Kevin Maney, Newsweek, "Need a Job? Why Artificial Intelligence Will Help Human Workers, Not Hurt Them," 18 Jan. 2018 Into this environment stepped, an auto-text generator that’s fun to read but doesn’t distract from your design. Rob Weinberg, Pomerado News, "Mr. Marketing: A tastier Lorem Ipsum text," 14 June 2018 Together, the three mega-generators produce enough power to energize about 90,000 U.S. homes. NBC News, "U.S. plans to remove backup power generators in Puerto Rico. Officials worry it's hurricane season.," 11 July 2018

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

18 Sep 2018

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 \

Kids Definition of generator

: a machine that produces electricity

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