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[jen-uh-rey-ter] /ˈdʒɛn əˌreɪ tər/
a machine that converts one form of energy into another, especially mechanical energy into electrical energy, as a dynamo, or electrical energy into sound, as an acoustic generator.
a person or thing that generates.
Chemistry. an apparatus for producing a gas or vapor.
  1. an element or one of a set of elements from which a specified mathematical object can be formed by applying certain operations.
  2. an element, as a line, that generates a figure.
Computers. a program that produces a particular type of output on demand, as random numbers, an application program, or a report.
1640-50; < Latin generātor producer, equivalent to generā(re) (see generate) + -tor -tor Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for generators
  • Chemical power generators are not used due to the far lower total available energy.
  • Inside all three models, the tone generators, drawbars, & keyboards were identical.
  • This would result in less steam being drawn from the steam generators.
  • They are also frequently used for electric generators and by industry.
British Dictionary definitions for generators


  1. any device for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy by electromagnetic induction, esp a large one as in a power station
  2. a device for producing a voltage electrostatically
  3. any device that converts one form of energy into another form: an acoustic generator
an apparatus for producing a gas
a person or thing that generates
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 generators



1640s, "person or thing that generates," from Latin generator "a begetter, producer," agent noun from past participle stem of generare (see generation). Meaning "machine that generates power" first recorded 1794; in sense of "machine that generates electric energy," 1879. Fem. generatrix attested from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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generators in Medicine

generator gen·er·a·tor (jěn'ə-rā'tər)
One that generates, especially a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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generators in Science
  1. A machine that converts mechanical energy into electricity to serve as a power source for other machines. Electrical generators found in power plants use water turbines, combustion engines, windmills, or other sources of mechanical energy to spin wire coils in strong magnetic fields, inducing an electric potential in the coils. A generator that provides alternating current power is called an alternator. See also induction.

  2. See generatrix.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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generators in Culture

generator definition

A device that produces electric current, usually by rotating a conductor in a magnetic field, thereby generating current through electromagnetic induction. This sort of generator produces an alternating current (AC).

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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