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

Keep scrolling for more

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 And chip production by Chinese companies is starting to make up a growing share of semiconductor supply in China. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "The Great U.S.-China Tech Divide," 20 Jan. 2020 Future Horizons, a chip-industry analysis firm, reckons that global semiconductor sales shrank by about 12% in 2019, to $410bn. The Economist, "Memory loss and gain A revival is under way in the chip business," 9 Jan. 2020 Samsung, the world’s biggest producer of smartphones and semiconductors, has suffered a sharp drop in profit over the past year with an industry-wide glut forcing chip-makers to slash prices to clear out inventory. Washington Post, "Samsung predicts smaller-than-expected drop in profit," 8 Jan. 2020 Homebuilder Lennar rallied 42% after sliding 38% the prior year and semiconductor-tool maker Applied Materials surged 86% after shedding 36% in 2018. Jessica Menton, USA TODAY, "Stock market: Here’s why your 401(k) is celebrating 2019 before ringing in 2020," 31 Dec. 2019 Despite years of free spending, Chinese semiconductor manufacturers remain far behind the U.S. state of the art. David J. Lynch, Anchorage Daily News, "Initial U.S.-China trade deal has major hole: Beijing’s massive business subsidies," 31 Dec. 2019 Rich had worked at Google, DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and Atheros, a semiconductor manufacturing company, before recently becoming vice president of Connected Fleet for Airbus, his wife said. oregonlive, "Federal report details cause of 2017 solar eclipse plane crash near Madras," 30 Dec. 2019 In the case of more complex technologies like vehicles, nuclear plants or semiconductors, other factors matter more—relationships with suppliers, access to affordable labour, the know-how to use the IP at all. The Economist, "Chinese inventiveness shows the weakness of the law," 4 Jan. 2020 Producers of aluminum, electrical lighting equipment, furniture and cabinets, semiconductors, and iron and steel enjoyed the greatest protections against imports. Marc Bain, Quartz, "Federal Reserve says Trump’s tariffs have so far hurt more than helped," 28 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of semiconductor

1838, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about semiconductor

Time Traveler for semiconductor

Time Traveler

The first known use of semiconductor was in 1838

See more words from the same year

Statistics for semiconductor

Last Updated

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Semiconductor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for semiconductor


How to pronounce semiconductor (audio)

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on semiconductor

What made you want to look up semiconductor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to assert without proof or before proving

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

January 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • image1642096650
  • Which is a synonym of bonhomie?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!