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

Tektronix is also suffering amid a steep decline in the semiconductor industry, one of Tek’s key markets. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive, "Tektronix buyouts trim nearly 200 jobs as sales slump, parent company breaks up," 4 Sep. 2019 Trade-sensitive semiconductor stocks helped lift the Nasdaq. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, "Stocks Mixed as Investors Wait for Trade Progress," 26 June 2019 CNBC Chip Stocks European semiconductor stocks are down due to a slowdown in demand, which the U.S. chip manufacturer Broadcom has warned about, citing Huawei and the U.S.-China trade conflict. Alan Murray, Fortune, "The Art of the Deal: CEO Daily," 14 June 2019 In terms of the impact on other firms, Samsung is the largest supplier in the semiconductor industry—and memory sales contribute 90% of its revenues, according to research from Gartner. Jane Li, Quartz, "A deepening trade quarrel between Japan and South Korea is rattling smartphone makers," 26 Aug. 2019 Perry's economic development team also gave $40 million in 2004 to Sematech, a consortium formed to revitalize the U.S. semiconductor industry in the 1980s, to keep it from moving jobs from Austin to New York. Dallas News, "Here's where Uber's $24 million ranks among state's biggest incentive packages," 26 Aug. 2019 Just when the global semiconductor industry seems to be taking a breather from one geopolitical conflict, another one is rearing its head. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "Global Chip Makers Can’t Catch a Break," 2 July 2019 President Trump’s decision to allow U.S. companies to continue selling to Huawei Technologies Co. followed an extensive lobbying campaign by the U.S. semiconductor industry that argued the ban could hurt America’s economic and national security. Jenny Leonard And Ian King,, "How U.S. chipmakers pressed Trump to ease China's Huawei ban," 2 July 2019 The restrictions on the three chemical materials are already troubling the global semiconductor industry. Sherisse Pham, CNN, "Japan resumes exports of chemicals South Korea's chipmakers need. But tensions remain," 8 Aug. 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

Statistics for semiconductor

Last Updated

19 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for semiconductor

The first known use of semiconductor was in 1838

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!