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

Attendance really swelled after Hurricane Maria in September 2017; because Bonanza had a generator still on hand from Hurricane Irma, the no-frills, open-air bar was one of few places in the neighborhood with power. New York Times, "Bomba: The Enduring Anthem of Puerto Rico," 7 July 2018 There has been speculation around whether Yoshida would be as much of a champion as Hirai had been for entertainment at Sony, but the Peanuts move fits with Yoshida's strategy of having long-term revenue generators at the corporation. Gavin J. Blair, The Hollywood Reporter, "Sony to Take $185 Million Stake in Snoopy IP Holder," 14 May 2018 After Maria, major health centers did not have working generators or fuel to power them. Patricia Mazzei,, "Puerto Rico nervously prepares for hurricane season," 14 May 2018 Today, Cinespace is a booming economic generator that hums with jobs, revenue and huge cultural returns for the city and the state. Candace Jordan,, "Anixter Center honors Cinespace's Alex Pissios at Benefit for Ability," 9 May 2018 Since then, the Metropolitan Sewer District has spent $11 million on repairs — all for an incident state regulators found could have been prevented if the plant had a backup power generator. James Bruggers, The Courier-Journal, "Only one of Louisville's 16 Ohio River flood pump stations will work if the power goes out," 6 Apr. 2018 Anticipating an extended period with no electricity, town leaders from Chester, Deep River and Essex made the decision to open an emergency shelter at John Winthrop Middle School, which serves the three towns and has a 450 kilowatt generator. Russell Blair,, "In Chester, Snow Is Gone But So Is Power," 9 Mar. 2018 However, locating the proper equipment and figuring out how to transport it to the rugged mountaintop has proved difficult, as did tracking down a drilling rig and power generator that could be airlifted by helicopter. New York Times, "Thailand Cave Rescue Mission Will Continue, Prime Minister Tells Families," 29 June 2018 In addition to TVs and medical equipment, the tentative list in April included bakery ovens, power generators, cassette players, electric motors and video cameras. Joe Mcdonald,, "TVs, robots, soybeans on front lines of U.S.-China trade spat," 15 June 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

13 Nov 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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