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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for rheostatic
Historical Examples
  • The motors are controlled by rheostatic controllers, one for each motor.

British Dictionary definitions for rheostatic


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 rheostatic



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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rheostatic in Science
See under resistor.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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