a body, as a piece of iron or steel, that possesses the property of attracting certain substances, as iron.
a lodestone.
a thing or person that attracts: The park was a magnet for pickpockets and muggers.

1400–50; late Middle English magnete < Latin magnēta < Greek mágnēta, accusative of mágnēs, short for () Mágnēs (líthos) (the stone) of Magnesia

countermagnet, noun

magnate, magnet. Unabridged


variant of magneto- before some vowels: magneton. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
magnet (ˈmæɡnɪt)
1.  See also electromagnet a body that can attract certain substances, such as iron or steel, as a result of a magnetic field; a piece of ferromagnetic substance
2.  a person or thing that exerts a great attraction
[C15: via Latin from Greek magnēs, shortened from ho Magnēs lithos the Magnesian stone. See magnesia]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

mid-15c. (earlier magnes, late 14c.), from L. magnetum (nom. magnes) "lodestone," from Gk. ho Magnes lithos "the Magnesian stone," from Magnesia, region in Thessaly where magnetized ore was obtained. Spread from Latin to most W. European languages (cf. Ger., Dan. magnet, Du. magneet, It., Sp., Port.
magnete), but superseded in Fr. by aimant.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
magnet  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (māg'nĭt)  Pronunciation Key 
A material or object that produces a magnetic field. Lodestones are natural magnets, though many materials, especially metals, can be made into magnets by exposing them to a magnetic field. See also electromagnet, ferromagnetism, magnetic pole. See Note at magnetism.

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

magnet definition

An object that attracts iron and some other materials. Magnets are said to generate a magnetic field around themselves. Every magnet has two poles, called the north and south poles. Magnetic poles exert forces on each other in such a way that like poles repel and unlike poles attract each other. A compass is a small magnet that is affected by the magnetic field of the Earth in such a way that it points to a magnetic pole of the Earth. (See magnetic field and magnetism.)

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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Example sentences
We all know how academia can be a powerful magnet attracting this group.
In one version, he even covers its head with a shawl, then places a huge magnet
  on the board.
If your flakes contain enough iron, the magnet will attract them.
Another way to create a fountain that acts as a bird magnet.
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