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[kuh-pas-i-ter] /kəˈpæs ɪ tər/
noun, Electricity
a device for accumulating and holding a charge of electricity, consisting of two equally charged conducting surfaces having opposite signs and separated by a dielectric.
Also called condenser.
1925-30; capacit(y) + -or2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for capacitor
  • She worked in the department of injection molding, forming capacitor bodies from hardening epoxy.
  • Such a capacitor gauge could become a common sight on the dashboards of the future.
  • For reasons of reliability, therefore, an extra transistor and capacitor are added to each cell as a back up.
  • But they first need to show that they can reliably produce chips requiring only one transistor and capacitor per bit.
  • The bus automatically plugs in to a high voltage electrical outlet at each bus stop, recharging its capacitor.
  • The larger the area of the plates, and the smaller the space between them, the more energy a capacitor can hold.
  • My dinosaur suit would have a jet pack, rocket launchers, and a flux capacitor.
  • To anyone familiar with electronics, a parallel capacitor works in a similar fashion.
  • From the inverter the power can enter a zero-cross switch and capacitor bank for phase synchronization.
  • Where the electrodes cross, it creates a charge-storage device called a capacitor.
British Dictionary definitions for capacitor


a device for accumulating electric charge, usually consisting of two conducting surfaces separated by a dielectric Former name condenser
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 capacitor

"device which stores electricity," 1926, from capacity with Latinate agent-noun ending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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capacitor in Science

An electrical device consisting of two conducting plates separated by an electrical insulator (the dielectric), designed to hold an electric charge. Charge builds up when a voltage is applied across the plates, creating an electric field between them. Current can flow through a capacitor only as the voltage across it is changing, not when it is constant. Capacitors are used in power supplies, amplifiers, signal processors, oscillators, and logic gates. Compare induction coil, resistor.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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capacitor in Culture
capacitor [(kuh-pas-i-tuhr)]

A device used in electrical circuits. The capacitor stores an electrical charge for short periods of time, and then returns it to the circuit.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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capacitor in Technology

An electronic device that can store electrical charge. The charge stored Q in Coulombs is related to the capacitance C in Farads and the voltage V across the capacitor in Volts by Q = CV.
The basis of a dynamic RAM cell is a capacitor. They are also used for power-supply smoothing (or "decoupling"). This is especially important in digital circuits where a digital device switching between states causes a sudden demand for current. Without sufficient local power supply decoupling, this current "spike" cannot be supplied directly from the power supply due to the inductance of the connectors and so will cause a sharp drop in the power supply voltage near the switching device. This can cause other devices to malfunction resulting in hard to trace glitches.

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