a person or thing that scans.
optical scanner. See under optical scanning.
Photography. any device for exposing an image on film, a sensitized plate, etc., by tracing light along a series of many closely spaced parallel lines.
(in aerial photography) a device for estimating the ratio of aircraft speed to aircraft altitude.
a photoelectric device for scanning a picture to determine automatically the density of the hue or value in each area for transmission by wire or radio or for preparation of color process printing plates.
a computer-aided electronic system using photoelectric cells to separate copy, as color illustrations, into its primary colors, correct color copy, and produce a set of color separations ready for proofing or printing.
Radio. a radio receiver, used especially by police, firefighters, and the press, that continuously tunes to preselected frequencies, broadcasting any signal that it detects.
Medicine/Medical, Biology. a device for examining a body, organ, tissue, or other biologically active material.

1550–60; scan + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
scanner (ˈskænə)
1.  a person or thing that scans
2.  a device, usually electronic, used to measure or sample the distribution of some quantity or condition in a particular system, region, or area
3.  an aerial or similar device designed to transmit or receive signals, esp radar signals, inside a given solid angle of space, thus allowing a particular region to be scanned
4.  CAT scanner nuclear magnetic resonance scanner See ultrasound scanner any of various devices used in medical diagnosis to obtain an image of an internal organ or part
5.  informal a television outside broadcast vehicle
6.  short for optical scanner
7.  printing an electronic device which scans printed material and converts it to digital form

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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Computing Dictionary

scanner definition

1. An input device that takes in an optical image and digitises it into an electronic image represented as binary data. This can be used to create a computerised version of a photo or illustration.
A scanner may be linked to optical character recognition software allowing printed documents to be converted to electronic text without having to type them in at a keyboard.
2. lexical analyser.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
In either case, a pen scanner is so tiny and portable, it goes where no bulky
  flatbed scanner has gone before.
Scanner operators can miss pages or scan them out of order.
The scanner records when she's tardy or absent and even plays a song for her
She climbed into the scanner dozens of times from age four to age eight as part
  of his project to chart healthy brain development.
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