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

Orange County firefighters also visited 34 mobile-home parks to hand out information about shelters and how to properly and safely operate a generator. Stephen Hudak,, "Hurricane Dorian: Orange County racks up ‘tens of millions of dollars’ in business losses," 11 Sep. 2019 Most tanks throughout the building were fairly small, but a generator on the fifth floor was connected to a large tank in the basement via a pressurized line. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report - The World Trade Center," 10 Sep. 2019 Former Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt signed off on what became a botched plan to use a firetruck ladder to transport a generator off the Hastings Police Department roof, a report shows. David Clarey, Twin Cities, "Report: Hastings fire chief’s resignation preceded by improper use of firetruck," 6 Sep. 2019 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to keep a generator at least 20 feet away from the house. Beatrice Dupuy And Arijeta Lajka,, "Count on hurricanes to spark storms of online misinformation," 3 Sep. 2019 Kevin Browning in Vero Beach has put up hurricane shutters, bought a generator and is stocked with supplies. Seth Borenstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Cutting it close: Florida’s fate may be a matter of miles," 2 Sep. 2019 James Schuchardt got in line at 5 a.m. to buy a generator and gas tanks. CBS News, "Dorian expected to be "extremely dangerous" as it heads for U.S. — live updates," 31 Aug. 2019 The new thermophotovoltaic cells could eventually power a house with a generator the size of an envelope, the researchers said. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "How Target Used Less Tech to Succeed—Data Sheet," 22 Aug. 2019 There are more than 25 buildings, including bunkhouses, workshops, a generator shed, a kitchen, and a community center. Jennifer Kingsley, National Geographic, "At this Arctic science base, life is anything but lonely," 30 July 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

18 Sep 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 make a temporary encampment

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