semi·​con·​duc·​tor | \ ˌse-mē-kən-ˈdək-tər How to pronounce semiconductor (audio) , 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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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 The rap against Micron is that memory chips are a low-end product in the semiconductor world, and one subject to periodic gluts. John Dorfman, Forbes, 16 May 2022 The show features two Chinese scientists who are lured back home from the West to help realize China’s dream of becoming self-sufficient in semiconductor technology. Yi-ling Liu, The New Yorker, 16 May 2022 Arm’s new leader benefits from his long history in the semiconductor business. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 13 May 2022 The latest case in point: his speech at the Semicon India 2022 conference in late April, pitching India as a potential semiconductor manufacturing hub. Megha Mandavia, WSJ, 11 May 2022 Hightower said supply-chain disruptions have slowed down progress as Lordstown Motors waits on steel aluminum and semiconductor chips. Sean Mcdonnell, cleveland, 9 May 2022 The company is a global distributor of high-performance metals serving industries including aerospace, semiconductor, power generation, oil and gas and others. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, 6 May 2022 His comments oppose a push by the Biden Administration and a bipartisan effort in Congress to boost federal spending in semiconductor grants and subsidies. al, 5 May 2022 Gupta’s findings show that shifts to renewable energy have been a key factor in reducing the carbon emissions from semiconductor and hardware manufacturing so far. K.e.d. Coan, Ars Technica, 29 Apr. 2022 See More

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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The first known use of semiconductor was in 1838

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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Semiconductor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for semiconductor


semi·​con·​duc·​tor | \ ˌse-mi-kən-ˈdək-tər How to pronounce semiconductor (audio) \

Kids Definition of semiconductor

: a solid substance that conducts electricity imperfectly


semi·​con·​duc·​tor | \ -kən-ˈdək-tər How to pronounce semiconductor (audio) \

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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