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[sen-sawr, -ser] /ˈsɛn sɔr, -sər/
a mechanical device sensitive to light, temperature, radiation level, or the like, that transmits a signal to a measuring or control instrument.
Origin of sensor
1925-30; sense + -or2
Can be confused
censer, censor, censure, sensor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sensor
  • When darkness falls, a built-in sensor turns on the lights, which glow for up to eight hours.
  • Test takers' digital fingerprints, recorded by a sensor before the examination, are kept in an electronic database.
  • The same sensor-embedded glove technology can help identify whether a ball is being handled, caught, and thrown properly.
  • Apparently the sensor in them is probably faulty, but only if it came from one of their several suppliers.
  • Unlike her take home final, the essays were not well written enough to set off my student-did-not-write-this-sensor.
  • Attached to one end was an electronic device containing a sensor and a transmitter.
  • sensor-studded clothing worn by a soldier tracks his movements and vital signs.
  • Set on an electric sensor, as the sun sets or fades, the volume of the piece decreases.
  • They are large enough to trip the sensor on my flood lights.
  • The sensor measures time and distance, plus it calculates the number of calories burned.
British Dictionary definitions for sensor


anything, such as a photoelectric cell, that receives a signal or stimulus and responds to it
Word Origin
C19: from Latin sēnsus perceived, from sentīre to observe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sensor

1947, from an adjective (1865), a shortened form of sensory (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sensor in Medicine

sensor sen·sor (sěn'sər, -sôr')

  1. A device, such as a photoelectric cell, that receives and responds to a signal or stimulus.

  2. See sense organ.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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sensor in Technology

An electronic device used to measure a physical quantity such as temperature, pressure or loudness and convert it into an electronic signal of some kind (e.g a voltage). Sensors are normally components of some larger electronic system such as a computer control and/or measurement system.
Analog sensors most often produce a voltage proportional to the measured quantity. The signal must be converted to digital form with a ADC before the CPU can process it.
Digital sensors most often use serial communication such as EIA-232 to return information directly to the controller or computer through a serial port.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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