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[kuh-pas-i-tuh ns] /kəˈpæs ɪ təns/
noun, Electricity
the ratio of an impressed charge on a conductor to the corresponding change in potential.
the ratio of the charge on either conductor of a capacitor to the potential difference between the conductors.
the property of being able to collect a charge of electricity. Symbol: C.
Origin of capacitance
1905-10; capacit(y) + -ance Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for capacitance
Historical Examples
  • As the blades of the tuning forks vibrate, the capacitance is alternately increased and decreased by the required amount.

    LRL Accelerators Lawrence Radiation Laboratory
  • The capacitance of a condenser or a circuit depends on its size and form and the voltage of the current that is charging it.

    The Radio Amateur's Hand Book A. Frederick Collins
  • The condenser used in the secondary coil circuit has 14 plates and this is equal to a capacitance of .0004 mfd.

    The Radio Amateur's Hand Book A. Frederick Collins
  • The variable condenser used in series with the aerial wire system has 26 plates and is equal to a capacitance of .0008 mfd.

    The Radio Amateur's Hand Book A. Frederick Collins
  • In honeycomb and other stagger wound coils the capacitance is more evenly distributed.

    The Radio Amateur's Hand Book A. Frederick Collins
British Dictionary definitions for capacitance


the property of a system that enables it to store electric charge
a measure of this, equal to the charge that must be added to such a system to raise its electrical potential by one unit
C Former name capacity
Derived Forms
capacitive, adjective
capacitively, adverb
Word Origin
C20: from capacit(y) + -ance
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 capacitance

1893, from capacity + -ance.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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capacitance in Science
A measure of the ability of a configuration of materials to store electric charge. In a capacitor, capacitance depends on the size of the plates, the type of insulator, and the amount of space between the plates. Most electrical components display capacitance to some degree; even the spaces between components of a circuit have a natural capacitance. Capacitance is measured in farads. Compare inductance.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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