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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.
Origin of capacitor
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 capacitors
  • Lc coupled amplifier, using a network of inductors and capacitors.
  • The capacitors were of a special design, small with high insulation.
  • These capacitors consisted of plates in oil that were movable.
  • The ends of the primaries not connected with the capacitors are led to a spark gap.
  • The combination of these printed circuit boards forms two variable capacitors.
  • Still others avoid the transformer effect altogether by using two capacitors.
British Dictionary definitions for capacitors


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 capacitors



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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capacitors 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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capacitors 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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