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[ri-zis-ter] /rɪˈzɪs tər/
noun, Electricity
a device designed to introduce resistance into an electric circuit.
1900-05; resist + -or2
Can be confused
resister, resistor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for resistor
  • The prototype does not use fuels or electric resistor to heat the air.
  • Everyone who has had a radio or player of some kind has had a capacitor fail or a resistor fail.
  • There is a type of resistor, called a metal film resistor, that works in precisely this way.
  • The tests demonstrated convincingly the suitability of the electro-lytic resistor in this application.
  • The pattern of this burn wound matched the motor resistor coils found inside the machine room.
  • If it is a variable resistor then it would not reduce the power used.
  • The voltage across the resistor is amplified for performance or recording.
British Dictionary definitions for resistor


an electrical component designed to introduce a known value of resistance into a circuit
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 resistor

late 14c., "one who resists;" 1580s, "that which resists;" agent noun in Latin form from resist. Specifically in electricity from 1905; resister was used in this sense from 1759.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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resistor in Science
A device used in electrical circuits to maintain a constant relation between current flow and voltage. Resistors are used to step up or lower the voltage at different points in a circuit and to transform a current signal into a voltage signal or vice versa, among other uses. The electrical behavior of a resistor obeys Ohm's law for a constant resistance; however, some resistors are sensitive to heat, light, or other variables. ◇ Variable resistors, or rheostats, have a resistance that may be varied across a certain range, usually by means of a mechanical device that alters the position of one terminal of the resistor along a strip of resistant material. The length of the intervening material determines the resistance. Mechanical variable resistors are also called potentiometers, and are used in the volume knobs of audio equipment and in many other devices. Compare capacitor. See more at Ohm's law.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for resistor

electrical component that opposes the flow of either direct or alternating current, employed to protect, operate, or control the circuit. Voltages can be divided with the use of resistors, and in combination with other components resistors can be used to make electrical waves into shapes most suited for the electrical designer's requirements. Resistors can have a fixed value of resistance, or they can be made variable or adjustable within a certain range, in which case they may be called rheostats, or potentiometers.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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