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

Other Words from indicator

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

Synonyms for indicator


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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 The easiest way to measure this is by the churn rate indicator. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 17 May 2022 Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, climbed 2.2 percent globally, and 1.7 percent in the United States., 17 May 2022 Despite that, Schrader was the first candidate in 2022 to get Biden's endorsement, a potential indicator of how much the president wants Democrats to hold onto their seats in the House. Hannah Demissie, ABC News, 17 May 2022 Despite signals of economic trouble in the U.S., such as soaring inflation, falling stock prices and wavering consumer confidence, one important indicator is flashing American strength: the dollar. Jon Hilsenrath, WSJ, 15 May 2022 The waffle maker features five browning settings that are controlled with a sliding lever and red and green indicator lights. Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping, 13 May 2022 The number of confirmed and suspected COVID-19-related hospitalizations can be a more accurate real-time indicator of local coronavirus impact because hospitals keep careful track of who fills their beds, and what ails them. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 May 2022 In fact, hospitalizations are rising to nearly 20,000 per day, up 20 percent over the past two weeks, according to an NBC News analysis of Health and Human Services data — but officials say that metric is becoming less of a reliable indicator. Berkeley Lovelace Jr., NBC News, 12 May 2022 Hamilton’s watch doubles down on the complications, featuring both a perpetual calendar and moon phase indicator. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 11 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of indicator

1666, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for indicator

Time Traveler

The first known use of indicator was in 1666

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indicator card

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Indicator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for indicator


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

More from Merriam-Webster on indicator

Nglish: Translation of indicator for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of indicator for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about indicator


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