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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
  • When one or both are pressed, the distance between them gets smaller, increasing the capacitance of the sensor.
  • As it does so, devices called capacitance sensors check on its position with respect to the surrounding satellite.
  • Some of the early designs measured the change in electrical resistance or capacitance on a surface when fingers touched it.
  • Fingers create a tiny electrical field that changes the capacitance of the array, depending on their distance from it.
  • It is not used because it is difficult to make and would have a relatively low capacitance.
  • capacitance causes current to flow even when no load is connected to the cable.
  • The inverse of capacitance is called elastance, and its unit is the reciprocal farad.
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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