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

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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 While these initial commitments are commendable and a significant indicator of progress, investors, regulators, customers, current and future employees are demanding that companies do more to truly be transformative. Christopher Gray, Forbes, "Lisa R. Davis, Managing Director At Teneo, Is Driving DE&I At The Helm Of Corporate America," 7 Apr. 2021 The name and affiliation of each economist, as well as their latest indicator forecasts, is included in the Excel spreadsheet available with each survey. Anthony Debarros, WSJ, "About The Wall Street Journal Economic Forecasting Survey," 7 Apr. 2021 When the tank reaches capacity, the device automatically turns off and an indicator light turns on. Zarah Kavarana, Better Homes & Gardens, "The 9 Best Small Dehumidifiers to Protect Your Home from Humidity," 6 Apr. 2021 Additionally, the air purifier is equipped with a filter replacement indicator and three speed settings. Shari Uyehara, NBC News, "March reader favorites: Ellipticals, face masks, vacuums and more," 2 Apr. 2021 This leading indicator started the year below 1 percent. Washington Post, "Mortgage rates continue their climb with seventh consecutive increase," 1 Apr. 2021 On mountain bikes, this can be knobs that are worn down or ripped off; on road bikes, a telltale indicator is a noticeably flat profile instead of a smooth, rounded one. Joe Lindsey, Outside Online, "Maintenance That Will Prep Your Bike for Spring," 29 Mar. 2021 But by 2013, those numbers dwindled to 56 million, what the conservation group considers a grave indicator of worsening ecosystems. René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio Zoo celebrates monarch butterflies," 28 Mar. 2021 The Fosberg Fire Weather Index, which is central to Pacific Power’s shutoff plan, is not a universally popular indicator among utilities. oregonlive, "Other utilities cut power to reduce Labor Day fire risks. Pacific Power did not. Now it may face the consequences," 28 Mar. 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.

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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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Statistics for indicator

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Indicator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

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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

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