in·​di·​ca·​tor | \ ˈin-də-ˌkā-tər How to pronounce indicator (audio) \

Definition of indicator

1 : one that indicates: such as
a : an index hand (as on a dial) : pointer
(2) : an instrument for automatically making a diagram that indicates the pressure in and volume of the working fluid of an engine throughout the cycle
2 : any of a group of statistical values (such as level of employment) that taken together give an indication of the health of the economy
3a : a substance (such as litmus) used to show visually (as by change of color) the condition of a solution with respect to the presence of a particular material (such as a free acid or alkali)
4 : an organism or ecological community so strictly associated with particular environmental conditions that its presence is indicative of the existence of these conditions

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from indicator

indicatory \ in-​ˈdi-​kə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce indicator (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for indicator


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of indicator in a Sentence

Economic indicators suggest that prices will go up. a control panel with various indicator lights
Recent Examples on the Web Violence in the home is more an indicator of whether there'll be violence in the street or whether a whole country will go to war against another country than water, oil, land, all the things that violence is often attributed to. Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY, "Gloria Steinem reflects on her decades-long fight for equality, the violence women are facing," 25 Mar. 2021 Use an indicator with fly tackle, but don’t expect casts to be pretty. Bill May,, "Bill May: Worm fishing for trout, and more | OUTDOORS COMMENTARY," 20 Mar. 2021 An orange or green indicator appears in the iPhone’s top left corner every time an app uses the microphone or the camera. Chris Smith, BGR, "Android 12 adds a great privacy feature iPhone owners will recognize," 19 Mar. 2021 Considered an indicator of investor confidence, the ten-year Treasury bond yield has risen rapidly by about 0.7 percent since the beginning of the year. Jon Hartley, National Review, "For Bond Yields It’s Mostly the Reopening Economy (Not Inflation) for Now," 19 Mar. 2021 The rise in investment is an early indicator that the state’s burgeoning status as a premier destination for investors and entrepreneurs is coming to fruition. Marc Vartabedian, WSJ, "Venture-Capital Funding Gets Bigger in Texas," 17 Mar. 2021 In other cases, the pandemic has become an immediate indicator of compatibility. Arit John, Star Tribune, "The business of making a match," 12 Mar. 2021 Though Geekbench is a synthetic benchmark, the relatively strong single-thread performance of the Snapdragon 7c is somewhat of an indicator for the overall user experience. Marco Chiappetta, Forbes, "First Snapdragon 7c Chromebook Analysis Shows Class-Leading Performance And Battery Life," 9 Mar. 2021 Still, Kousky says that the new findings are an important indicator of just how much the cost of flood damage could grow around the country as the climate changes, which the cost of insurance in any single year does not capture. Drew Kann. Graphics By Renée Rigdon, CNN, "Flood risk is growing for US homeowners due to climate change. Current insurance rates greatly underestimate the threat, a new report finds," 22 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'indicator.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of indicator

1666, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about indicator

Time Traveler for indicator

Time Traveler

The first known use of indicator was in 1666

See more words from the same year

Statistics for indicator

Last Updated

1 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Indicator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for indicator



English Language Learners Definition of indicator

: a sign that shows the condition or existence of something
: a pointer or light that shows the state or condition of something
: a device that shows a measurement


in·​di·​ca·​tor | \ ˈin-də-ˌkā-tər How to pronounce indicator (audio) \

Kids Definition of indicator

1 : a sign that shows or suggests the condition or existence of something
2 : a pointer on a dial or scale


in·​di·​ca·​tor | \ ˈin-də-ˌkāt-ər How to pronounce indicator (audio) \

Medical Definition of indicator

: a substance (as a dye) used to show visually (as by a change in color) the condition of a solution with respect to the presence of a particular material (as a free acid or alkali) litmus and phenolphthalein are acid-base indicators

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on indicator

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


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!