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

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 One of the most significant gifts of my childhood was a small white AM transistor radio my best friend bought for my birthday in 1974. Nancy Baym, WIRED, "Book Excerpt: How Music Fans Built the Internet," 10 July 2018 On July 4, 1957, at approximately 9:05 a.m., a voice beamed out of transistor radios across New York City. Michael S. Rosenwald, Washington Post, "‘Awe-inspiring’: Listen to Sen. John F. Kennedy read the Declaration of Independence," 4 July 2018 The dispute centers on technology known as FinFet, a type of transistor that boosts performance and reduces power consumption for increasingly smaller chips. Fortune, "Samsung Told to Pay $400 Million in FinFet Patent Dispute," 16 June 2018 The researchers mimic the behavior of a phase-change bit by hooking up the gate of a transistor to a capacitor. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Training a neural network in phase-change memory beats GPUs," 7 June 2018 General components like transistors are also named on the list, as well as more specific components used in televisions, cameras, and radio receivers. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "White House announces 25 percent tariff on Chinese tech goods," 15 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about transistor

Share transistor

Phrases Related to transistor

transistor radio

Statistics for transistor

Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for transistor

The first known use of transistor was in 1948

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for transistor



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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on transistor

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


not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!