sec·​tor | \ ˈsek-tər How to pronounce sector (audio) , -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 How to pronounce sector (audio) \
sectored; sectoring\ ˈsek-​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce sector (audio) \

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

Noun He was assigned to the northern sector. Data is stored on the disk in 512-byte sectors.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Workers say the holiday season showed how the pandemic’s trickle-down effects have upended the beauty sector. Los Angeles Times, "Entering a new year sparkling? Not so for beauty businesses in Little Saigon," 6 Jan. 2021 In 2017, Amazon purchased Whole Foods, transforming the sector and jolting established players like Albertsons, which bought Safeway in 2015. Carolyn Said,, "Safeway parent outsources some grocery deliveries to gig companies," 5 Jan. 2021 Private sector pensions have cratered over the last two decades, and the public pension, long a firewall against poverty in old age, has become a nearly obsessive target of rightwing budgeting. Katie Mcdonough, The New Republic, "The Long Plot to Escape From Work," 4 Jan. 2021 Fed and Treasury officials said Main Street was designed to address a grim scenario that never materialized: one where companies unable to borrow in capital markets drew down their credit lines and overwhelmed the banking sector’s capacity to lend. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, "Fed Had a Loan Plan for Midsize Firms Hurt by Covid. It Found Few Takers.," 4 Jan. 2021 Movie theaters Check out the full story on CNN Business for analysis on what comes next for each sector. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "Saying goodbye to a wild year for stocks," 3 Jan. 2021 Congress has not given the agency or homeland security any authority to enter or defend private sector networks. New York Times, "As Understanding of Russian Hacking Grows, So Does Alarm," 2 Jan. 2021 Real estate sector stocks are one of the few sectors to be down for the year., "Some businesses thrived, many lagged during pandemic in 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 However, if oil prices remain low, the biofuel sector could undergo a production pullback and face a negative longer-term outlook. Washington Post, "Researchers unveil new method for converting carbon dioxide into jet fuel," 31 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hundreds of thousands of students from overseas have made the Australian universities sector one of the nation's biggest earners of foreign currency. Rod Mcguirk, Star Tribune, "Australia expects COVID-19 vaccination is still a year away," 7 Oct. 2020 The last few days saw hotels, resorts, and cruise lines sector outperform information technology by enough to break a long-lasting trend. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Letter: Week of September 7," 11 Sep. 2020 The recent gains led RBC Capital Markets analyst Steven Arthur to downgrade his rating to sector perform from outperform Friday. Fortune, "Sea-Doo maker faces a coronavirus conundrum: Demand is high, but supply is not," 31 May 2020 The recent gains led RBC Capital Markets analyst Steven Arthur to downgrade his rating to sector perform from outperform Friday. Sandrine Rastello,, "Sea-Doo Maker Is in a Bind: Demand is High, Supply is Short," 31 May 2020 The professional and business services sector lost 6,900 jobs; the next biggest losses were 1,700 in manufacturing and 1,600 in finance. Mark Williams,, "Ohio drops 6,300 jobs in January; 12,500 positions lost over the past year," 6 Mar. 2020 Network planning is basically about which sectors an airline will fly in, and at what frequency. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "At India’s largest airline, the most crucial skill is not one that’s taught at IIMs," 6 Feb. 2020 The information and financial activities sectors both lost about 1,000 jobs. Pioneer Press, Twin Cities, "MN adds 7,400 jobs in October; unemployment rate steady at 3.2 percent," 14 Nov. 2019 Jobs in Houston's professional and business services sector increased 4.9 percent year-over-year, while the nation saw an increase of 2.2 percent. Erin Douglas, Houston Chronicle, "Texas cities gained most jobs in nation in July," 27 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for sector

Time Traveler

The first known use of sector was in 1570

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Statistics for sector

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sector.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for sector


How to pronounce sector (audio)

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 How to pronounce sector (audio) \

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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