so·​le·​noid ˈsō-lə-ˌnȯid How to pronounce solenoid (audio)
: a coil of wire usually in cylindrical form that when carrying a current acts like a magnet so that a movable core is drawn into the coil when a current flows and that is used especially as a switch or control for a mechanical device (such as a valve)
solenoidal adjective

Examples of solenoid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Water may enter the starter solenoid and cause an electrical short which can result in an engine fire while the car is parked or driving, the NHTSA said. USA TODAY, 19 Feb. 2024 Tokamaks—like the upcoming ITER, for example—use superconducting coils and a central solenoid, while also running an electric current through the plasma itself. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, 1 Apr. 2023 The pump shift solenoid may corrode internally, causing a loss of power to the pump control module. Detroit Free Press, 21 Aug. 2021 The second, more common problem is a bad solenoid in the shifter assembly. Motormouth Bob Weber, Star Tribune, 9 July 2021 Replace evaporative emissions purge solenoid: $149. Jim Gorzelany, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2021 In addition, 18 toroidal field coils will encircle the machine vertically, and one large central solenoid will sit in the middle, forming the largest superconducting magnet system ever built. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, 1 Dec. 2020 Jetographer Paul Wheeler, an eight-year veteran to sonic photography, has installed his Speed Graphic with a stronger trip-spring, a more powerful solenoid-to prevent G-forces from prematurely triggering the shutter. James Joseph, Popular Mechanics, 31 Dec. 2020 Six modules, each 7 feet tall, 14 feet in diameter and 250,000 pounds, will be stacked atop one another to create the solenoid. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Nov. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'solenoid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French solénoïde, from Greek sōlēnoeidēs pipe-shaped, from Greek sōlēn pipe

First Known Use

1827, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of solenoid was in 1827

Dictionary Entries Near solenoid

Cite this Entry

“Solenoid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


so·​le·​noid ˈsō-lə-ˌnȯid How to pronounce solenoid (audio)
: a coil of wire commonly in the form of a long cylinder that when carrying a current acts as a magnet so that a movable core is drawn into the coil when a current flows

More from Merriam-Webster on solenoid

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