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[ree-uh-stat] /ˈri əˌstæt/
noun, Electricity
an adjustable resistor so constructed that its resistance may be changed without opening the circuit in which it is connected, thereby controlling the current in the circuit.
Origin of rheostat
1843; rheo- + -stat
Related forms
rheostatic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for rheostat


a variable resistance, usually consisting of a coil of wire with a terminal at one end and a sliding contact that moves along the coil to tap off the current
Derived Forms
rheostatic, adjective
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 rheostat

1843, coined by English physicist Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) from Greek rheos "a flowing, stream" (from PIE root *sreu-, see rheum) + -stat "regulating device." Related: Rheostatic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rheostat in Science
See under resistor.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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