sec·​tor | \ˈsek-tər, -ˌtȯr\

Definition of sector 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a geometric figure bounded by two radii and the included arc of a circle

b(1) : a subdivision of a defensive military position

(2) : a portion of a military front or area of operation

c : an area or portion resembling a sector bilingual sector of town— David Kleinberg

d : a sociological, economic, or political subdivision of society cooperation between the public and private sectors— Peter Chapman

2 : a mathematical instrument consisting of two rulers connected at one end by a joint and marked with several scales

3 : a subdivision of a track on a computer disk


sec·​tor | \ˈsek-tər \
sectored; sectoring\ˈsek-​t(ə-​)riŋ \

Definition of sector (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to divide into or furnish with sectors

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Other Words from sector


sectoral \ˈsek-​t(ə-​)rəl \ adjective

Examples of sector in a Sentence


He was assigned to the northern sector. Data is stored on the disk in 512-byte sectors.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Huawei’s importance to China’s technology sector has sparked concern that employees of U.S. tech companies could be especially vulnerable if tensions escalate. Te-ping Chen, WSJ, "Huawei Executive’s Arrest Stirs Fears About Corporate Travel," 8 Dec. 2018 On the contrary, Emmanuel Macron continues to provide a blind support to the nuclear (sector). Sylvie Corbet, The Seattle Times, "France’s Macron tries to ease popular anger over gas prices," 27 Nov. 2018 Like many lodges in Namibia, Hoanib Valley Camp was developed on a conservancy in partnership with the local community, who lease concessions to the private sector. Mary Holland, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Your Next Safari Should Be in Namibia," 6 Nov. 2018 In the United States, preservation has been pushed off to the private sector and philanthropy. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rethinking the modern house museum," 12 Oct. 2018 In 1994, President Clinton, visiting Germany, went to the eastern sector of Berlin, the first US president to do so since Harry Truman., "This day in history," 12 July 2018 Federal employee union membership is growing, even as private sector union enrollment declines. Lisa Rein, Anchorage Daily News, "New curbs on federal unions begin to take effect," 9 July 2018 Justices also tend to dislike simply overturning past rulings (though the court’s five conservatives, including Mr Kennedy, displayed no such squeamishness in a recent case that overturned decades of precedent to weaken public-sector unions). The Economist, "A court with a solid conservative majority could reshape American life," 5 July 2018 By comparison, the fast-casual sector was up 5 percent for the last year. Lori Weisberg,, "Fast casual chains — think Panera, Chipotle — show no signs of fading," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Banks were among the biggest decliners in the U.S., pulling the S&P 500’s financials sector down 3.4%. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "Stocks Tumble on Italy’s Political Instability," 29 May 2018 Construction lost 4,400 jobs, and the trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 1,900 jobs. Andrew Khouri,, "California loses jobs in March, though unemployment stays at a record low," 20 Apr. 2018 Over the last five years, total shareholder return at Convergys has lagged the business services sector 7.9 percent to 15.7 percent, according to Morningstar. Alexander Coolidge,, "Convergys head, region's only female CEO of public company departing," 26 Jan. 2018 Investors need to give the over-the-counter drugs sector a thorough health check. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Drugstore Favorites May Be Catching the Common Consumer Cold," 16 Oct. 2017 The chances of this deal going through seem high, because as of right now, the allegations are sectored off onto a specific person, not Adidas as an entity. Hunter Cooke, ajc, "Contract between Kansas and Adidas could be in jeopardy following scandal," 28 Sep. 2017 And, regardless of which sectors the new jobs are in, the structural shifts in the economy haven’t prevented over-all wages from rising lately, as employers have been forced to compete for workers—a very welcome development. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Obama’s Economic Record: An Assessment," 9 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sector.' 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 sector


1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1884, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sector


Late Latin, from Latin, cutter, from secare to cut — more at saw

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Statistics for sector

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sector

The first known use of sector was in 1570

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More Definitions for sector



English Language Learners Definition of sector

: an area of an economy : a part of an economy that includes certain kinds of jobs

: an area for which someone (such as a military commander) is responsible

computers : one of the parts that a computer disk is divided into


sec·​tor | \ˈsek-tər \

Kids Definition of sector

: a part of an area or of a sphere of activity the industrial sector of the economy

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More from Merriam-Webster on sector

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sector

Spanish Central: Translation of sector

Nglish: Translation of sector for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sector for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sector

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


a knickknack or trinket

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