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[puh-ten-shee-om-i-ter] /pəˌtɛn ʃiˈɒm ɪ tər/
noun, Electricity
a device for measuring electromotive force or potential difference by comparison with a known voltage.
Origin of potentiometer
1880-85; potenti(al) + -o- + -meter
Related forms
[puh-ten-shee-uh-me-trik] /pəˌtɛn ʃi əˈmɛ trɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for potentiometer


an instrument for determining a potential difference or electromotive force by measuring the fraction of it that balances a standard electromotive force
a device with three terminals, two of which are connected to a resistance wire and the third to a brush moving along the wire, so that a variable potential can be tapped off: used in electronic circuits, esp as a volume control
Sometimes shortened to pot
Derived Forms
potentiometry, noun
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 potentiometer

1868, a hybrid formed from comb. form of Latin potentia "power" (see potential) + Greek-derived -meter.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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potentiometer in Science
  1. A mechanical variable resistor. See more at resistor.

  2. An instrument for measuring an unknown voltage by comparison with a known voltage, such as that of a generator.

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