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[reg-yuh-ley-ter] /ˈrɛg yəˌleɪ tər/
a person or thing that regulates.
  1. an adjustable device in a clock or a watch for making it go faster or slower.
  2. a master clock, usually of great accuracy, against which other clocks are checked.
  1. a governor mechanism for regulating the flow of fuel, steam, etc., to an engine in order to maintain constant speed under varying load or resistance.
  2. a valve for regulating the pressure of flowing gas or liquid to maintain a predetermined pressure.
  3. any of various mechanisms for maintaining a temperature, a level of liquid in a tank, etc.
Electricity. a device for maintaining a designated characteristic, as voltage or current, at a predetermined value, or for varying it according to a predetermined plan.
a device on scuba equipment for regulating the rate at which compressed air is fed through a breathing tube in proportion to the depth of water.
a device for maintaining a constant gas pressure.
(initial capital letter) American History.
  1. a member of any of several bands or committees in North Carolina (1767–71), formed to resist certain abuses, as extortion by officials.
  2. (in newly settled areas) a member of any band or committee organized to preserve order before the establishment of regular legal authority.
1645-55; regulate + -or2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for regulators
  • regulators from several nations patrol and try to limit pirate fishing.
  • Their tanks are rusted and their regulators are often faulty.
  • Drip systems must be kept free of debris and require maintenance of pressure regulators, self-cleaning emitters and filters.
  • Rating agencies have been around for a century, and their ratings have been used by regulators since the thirties.
  • As the press has noted, the plan would consolidate our myriad and overlapping regulators into fewer, bigger ones.
  • Shutting a bank down is usually, then, in some sense a judgment call on the part of regulators.
  • If they can convince the regulators, they may be able to release their tamarisk-eating insects as early as this summer.
  • When buying and selling are regulated, the first items to be bought and sold are the regulators.
  • Under the proposed changes, these colleges will be subject to increased scrutiny by government regulators.
  • The regulators didn't make those simple connections nor did the rating agencies' structural ratings side.
British Dictionary definitions for regulators


a person or thing that regulates
the mechanism, including the hairspring and the balance wheel, by which the speed of a timepiece is regulated
a timepiece, known to be accurate, by which others are timed and regulated
any of various mechanisms or devices, such as a governor valve, for controlling fluid flow, pressure, temperature, voltage, etc
Also called regulator gene. a gene the product of which controls the synthesis of a product from another gene
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 regulators



1650s, agent noun in Latin form from regulate. In English history, from 1680s; in American history, from 1767, applied to local posses that kept order (or disturbed it) in rural regions. As a mechanical device or clock used to set the time of other pieces, from 1758.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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