tran·​sis·​tor | \tran-ˈzi-stər, tran(t)-ˈsi-\

Definition of transistor 

1 : a solid-state electronic device that is used to control the flow of electricity in electronic equipment and usually consists of a small block of a semiconductor (such as germanium) with at least three electrodes

2 : a transistorized radio

Examples of transistor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The current through the transistor changes when a molecule attaches to the sensing surface. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Big transistor senses the arrival of a single molecule," 29 Oct. 2018 The commercial pressure to keep shrinking transistors has brought them down to near-atomic sizes, while spurring investment in miniaturization techniques. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "The Second Quantum Revolution," 18 Oct. 2018 Computer chips are made up of billions of transistors that switch the flow of electricity on and off in microscopic wires. Eric Smalley, Discover Magazine, "Cellular Cyborgs: How Programmable DNA Strands Might Control Healing," 25 Sep. 2018 The device is subject to high internal temperatures that can damage transistors that convert lower-voltage direct current from the battery to higher-voltage alternating current for the motor. Ralph Vartabedian,, "Electrical defects cause Priuses to stall; Toyota may be bracing for a legal fight as safety worries grow," 23 Apr. 2018 The number of touch-screen liquid-crystal displays using thin film transistors installed in new vehicles globally will grow to 200 million units by 2022, nearly double the number in 2016, according to IHS Markit. Chester Dawson, WSJ, "In Car Makers’ Digital Dash, Little Room for Error," 27 Mar. 2018 So Dennard was the guy who invented D-RAMs, the one-transistor D-RAM. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Dave Patterson and John Hennessy on Recode Decode," 17 May 2018 His proposal anticipated how modern lithography sculpts tiny transistors and circuits for computer chips and makes CDs and DVDs. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "A Great Physicist’s Visions of a Future for Tiny Objects," 25 Apr. 2018 Smaller transistors allow chip makers to pack circuitry more densely, making for more powerful chips that potentially are also smaller and use less electricity. Ted Greenwald, WSJ, "Intel’s Chip Stumble Is Letting Rivals Pull Ahead," 24 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'transistor.' 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 transistor

1948, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for transistor

trans- + (re)sist(ance) entry 1 + -or entry 1

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1 Dec 2018

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The first known use of transistor was in 1948

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English Language Learners Definition of transistor

: a small device that is used to control the flow of electricity in radios, computers, etc.


tran·​sis·​tor | \tran-ˈzi-stər \

Kids Definition of transistor

: a small solid electronic device used for controlling the flow of electricity


tran·​sis·​tor | \tranz-ˈis-tər, tran(t)s- \

Medical Definition of transistor 

: a solid-state electronic device that is used to control the flow of electricity in electronic equipment and consists of a small block of a semiconductor (as germanium) with at least three electrodes

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More from Merriam-Webster on transistor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with transistor

Spanish Central: Translation of transistor

Nglish: Translation of transistor for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about transistor

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