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

Shares of the semiconductor company fell 8.7% Friday, their largest one-day drop since July 2016, following some gloomy sales guidance. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Stocks to Watch: Altria, Apptio, Chipotle, Skyworks, UPS," 12 Nov. 2018 Already, its antitrust officials have effectively killed the $44 billion effort by Qualcomm, the semiconductor company, to buy a Dutch chipmaker. Keith Bradsher, The Seattle Times, "China once looked tough on trade, but now its options are dwindling," 18 Sep. 2018 Broadcom, the semiconductor company formerly known as Avago, likes to buy things too. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Data Sheet—The Thinking Behind Broadcom's CA Technologies Acquisition," 12 July 2018 After graduating in 2007, Vardakostas got a job automating data at a semiconductor company. Lauren Smiley, WIRED, "The Mission to Build the Ultimate Burger Bot," 21 June 2018 And taking aim at semiconductor companies that are making chips for self-driving cars, SoftBank bought ARM and invested in Nvidia., "SoftBank fund puts $2.25 billion in GM’s driverless unit," 1 June 2018 China is reportedly offering to buy more American semiconductors to stave off tariffs. The Economist, "America’s trade strategy has many risks and few upsides," 28 Mar. 2018 While the processing used is compatible with other semiconductor tech, each step has to be repeated with every additional wire that's added to the device. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Memristors built with 2-nanometer-thick parts," 14 Nov. 2018 Instead, the ruling may be part of a strategy to push Micron into a partnership with Chinese semiconductor makers, which could speed China's chip-industry development. David Staats And Ian King, idahostatesman, "A Chinese court just retaliated against Boise's Micron. Here's why, and what it means," 5 July 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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Last Updated

12 Dec 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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