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[dih-tek-ter] /dɪˈtɛk tər/
a person or thing that detects.
a device for detecting smoke, fire, or some other hazardous condition.
a device for detecting the presence of metal, contraband, or other items that might be hidden or concealed.
  1. a device for detecting electric oscillations or waves.
  2. a device, as a crystal detector or a vacuum tube, that rectifies the alternating current in a radio receiver.
Origin of detector
1535-45; < Late Latin dētēctor revealer, equivalent to Latin dēteg(ere) to uncover, reveal (see detect) + -tor -tor Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for detector
  • From chewing rice to scanning brains, the perfect lie detector remains elusive.
  • The detector was tiny by today's standards, but it still managed to spot neutrinos-three an hour.
  • Place subatomic particles-pion or muons-on one side of the light cylinder, and a particle detector on the other side.
  • As he walked, sweeping his metal detector from side to side, he noticed a slight elevation.
  • Now two entrepreneurs say the problem has gotten so bad that it's time for a new weapon: a high-tech plagiarism detector.
  • Then a new radar detector would come out to help drivers evade it.
  • For example, you need a physics degree to be about to design a good spectrophotometer or a neutron detector used in oil drilling.
  • Perhaps all faculty, junior and senior, could be subject to mandatory annual psych exams and lie-detector tests.
  • He followed her to the security check where the metal plate in her leg set off the metal detector.
  • Disaster blinds the world's leading neutrino detector.
British Dictionary definitions for detector


a person or thing that detects
any mechanical sensing device
(electronics) a device used in the detection of radio signals
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 detector

1540s, from Latin detector "uncoverer, revealer," agent noun from detectus, past participle of detegere (see detect).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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