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

State-level right-to-work policies that would also affect the private sector have been gaining steam, with five other states adopting the policy since 2012, including union-heavy Michigan. Allison Kite, kansascity, "Could Missouri's right-to-work vote be a 'turnaround' for labor? Unions hope so.," 10 July 2018 Clearly, the private sector has allocated that capital much more efficiently. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Corporations Invested Their Tax Cuts Into Stock Buybacks That Didn’t Even Work," 9 July 2018 At the time, start-ups like WhatsApp, Uber and Deliveroo were upending the landscape of their respective sectors, transforming the way people communicate, shop, socialize, travel and eat. Elizabeth Paton, New York Times, "Tagwalk Wants to Be the Google of Fashion," 5 July 2018 But that’s an issue right now, as the US government doesn’t currently have any framework for overseeing what the private sector does in space. Loren Grush, The Verge, "NASA needs to update its rules on how to keep the Solar System clean, report says," 5 July 2018 Statistical data collection would have been centralized within that department and then outsourced to the private sector. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "After outcry, Puerto Rico’s legislature spares statistical agency," 3 July 2018 This year’s topics include environmental cooperation across North America and engaging the private sector for environmental work. Gustavo Solis,, "Coronado mayor talks Tijuana sewage with EPA head Scott Pruitt," 27 June 2018 Its shadow-banking sector is vast, fuelled by a big rise in corporate debt. The Economist, "China’s tighter regulation of shadow banks begins to bite," 14 June 2018 His Made in China 2025 program, backed with huge state subsidies for its tech sector, is central to Xi’s vision. Ian Bremmer, Time, "The U.S. Trade War with China Has Reached a Dangerous New Phase," 1 June 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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Phrases Related to sector

private sector

public sector

Statistics for sector

Last Updated

4 Oct 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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