Electricity. a rotating member of a machine. Compare stator ( def 1 ).
Aeronautics. a system of rotating airfoils, as the horizontal ones of a helicopter or of the compressor of a jet engine.
any of a number of tall, cylindrical devices mounted on a special ship (rotor ship) and rotated in such a way that the Magnus effect of wind impinging on the cylinders is used to drive and maneuver the vessel.
(in a self-winding watch) a weight eccentrically mounted on an arbor for keeping the mainspring wound.

1873; short for rotator Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
rotor (ˈrəʊtə)
1.  Compare stator the rotating member of a machine or device, esp the armature of a motor or generator or the rotating assembly of a turbine
2.  a device having blades radiating from a central hub that is rotated to produce thrust to lift and propel a helicopter
3.  the revolving arm of the distributor of an internal-combustion engine
4.  a violent rolling wave of air occurring in the lee of a mountain or hill, in which the air rotates about a horizontal axis
[C20: shortened form of rotator]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1873, irregular shortening of rotator, originally in mathematics. Mechanical sense is attested from 1903; specifically of helicopters from 1930. Rototiller (with tiller) is a proprietary name in U.S., attested from 1923.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
But the smaller the turbine, the faster the rotor must spin for its tips to
  achieve near-sonic speed.
The helicopter does not quite fill the bill, simply because its speed is
  limited on account of the rotor configuration.
Army officers learn in a general way to use a helicopter's rotor wash to drive
  away a crowd, he explained.
Army managed to conceal the whomp-whomp of helicopter rotor blades, but photos
  of the wreckage offer clues.
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