semi·con·duc·tor | \ˌse-mē-ˈdək-tər, ˌse-ˌmī-, -mi-\

Definition of semiconductor 

: any of a class of solids (such as germanium or silicon) whose electrical conductivity is between that of a conductor and that of an insulator in being nearly as great as that of a metal at high temperatures and nearly absent at low temperatures

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Did You Know?

A semiconductor is a crystal material whose ability to conduct electricity rises as its temperature goes up. That is, it sometimes acts as a conductor and sometimes as an insulator. Its conducting ability can be much increased by chemical treatment. A manufactured chip of silicon, less than half an inch square, may contain millions of microscopic transistors, which can serve control and memory functions when installed in a computer, automobile, cell phone, DVD player, or microwave oven.

Examples of semiconductor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Operating profits for the semiconductor segment, mostly memory chips, were up 83% from a year earlier. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "The Chips Are Far From Down at Samsung," 26 Apr. 2018 The Trump administration said it was concerned the deal would result in the U.S. ceding ground to China in semiconductors and mobile technology. Jim Puzzanghera,, "Trump takes softer approach to restricting Chinese investment, backs bipartisan legislation expanding reviews," 27 June 2018 The Trump administration has blocked multiple attempts by Chinese companies to buy US semiconductor firms. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Report: Trump officials planning escalation of US-China tech trade war," 25 June 2018 Even saintly Canada prevented a $1bn takeover of a construction company, Aecon, by a Chinese firm in May. America’s security watchdogs recently kiboshed the takeover of Qualcomm by Broadcom, a rival semiconductor firm then domiciled in Singapore. The Economist, "Canaries in the coal mine," 14 June 2018 Merging the two large semiconductor firms won’t be easy, say analysts. Mike Freeman,, "Qualcomm, NXP shares jump on reports of Chinese merger approval," 14 June 2018 Bloomberg reported last month that Facebook is putting together a team to design its own semiconductors, according to job listings and people familiar with the matter. Jaclyn Gallucci, Fortune, "Facebook Is Designing Chips to Help Filter Live Videos," 25 May 2018 On Sunday, Mnuchin said the United States was not willing to revisit penalties on ZTE, which gets a large amount of its semiconductors from Qualcomm, a San Diego chip maker., "Treasury secretary says US and China are putting trade war on hold," 21 May 2018 China imports about half of its semiconductors from US companies, according to a report from the US Department of Commerce. Klint Finley, WIRED, "Fear of China Scuttles Deal That Didn't Involve China," 13 Mar. 2018

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

1838, in the meaning defined above

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3 Oct 2018

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The first known use of semiconductor was in 1838

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More Definitions for semiconductor



English Language Learners Definition of semiconductor

: a material or object that allows some electricity or heat to move through it and that is used especially in electronic devices


semi·con·duc·tor | \ˌse-mi-kən-ˈdək-tər \

Kids Definition of semiconductor

: a solid substance that conducts electricity imperfectly


semi·con·duc·tor | \-kən-ˈdək-tər \

Medical Definition of semiconductor 

: any of a class of solids (as germanium or silicon) whose electrical conductivity is between that of a conductor and that of an insulator in being nearly as great as that of a metal at high temperatures and nearly absent at low temperatures

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not any or not one

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