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[sek-ter] /ˈsɛk tər/
Geometry. a plane figure bounded by two radii and the included arc of a circle.
a mathematical instrument consisting of two flat rulers hinged together at one end and bearing various scales.
Machinery. a device used in connection with an index plate, consisting of two arms rotating about the center of the plate and set to indicate the angle through which the work is indexed.
Military. a designated defense area, usually in a combat zone, within which a particular military unit operates and for which it is responsible.
Astronomy. an instrument shaped like a sector of a circle, having a variable central angle and sights along the two straight sides, for measuring the angular distance between two celestial bodies.
a distinct part, especially of society or of a nation's economy:
the housing sector; the educational sector.
a section or zone, as of a city.
Computers. a portion of a larger block of storage, as 1/128 of a track or disk.
verb (used with object)
to divide into sectors.
1560-70; < Late Latin: sector, Latin: cutter, equivalent to of sec(āre) to cut + -tor -tor
Related forms
sectoral, adjective
subsector, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sectors
  • Tuition will increase across all higher-education sectors and state-financed student aid will continue to dwindle or remain flat.
  • The credit-rating agency retained its negative outlook for all sectors of higher education for a second consecutive year.
  • Educational progress abroad will enhance other nations' high-tech sectors, increasing their ability to innovate.
  • Acting in a united manner could be challenging, however, when leaders from different sectors don't even see eye to eye.
  • Twitter is great for professional networking across sectors.
  • However, there are two sectors of society, government and the economic sector.
  • Already, the crisis has infected other sectors besides housing.
  • The indifference to rents shows to some degree how under-leveraged some key sectors may be.
  • Foreign investment is permitted in all sectors of the economy except health, education, and the armed services.
  • No solution will be perfect, nor will any solve the problems of all energy sectors.
British Dictionary definitions for sectors


a part or subdivision, esp of a society or an economy: the private sector
(geometry) either portion of a circle included between two radii and an arc. Area: 1/2r²θ, where r is the radius and θ is the central angle subtended by the arc (in radians)
a measuring instrument consisting of two graduated arms hinged at one end
a part or subdivision of an area of military operations
(computing) the smallest addressable portion of the track on a magnetic tape, disk, or drum store
Derived Forms
sectoral, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin: sector, from Latin: a cutter, from secāre to cut
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 sectors



1560s, "section of a circle between two radii," from Late Latin sector "section of a circle," in classical Latin "a cutter, one who cuts," from sectus, past participle of secare "to cut" (see section (n.)). Translated Greek tomeus in Latin editions of Archimedes. Meaning "area, division" appeared 1920, generalized from military sense (1916) of "part of a front," based on a circle centered on a headquarters. As a verb from 1884. Related: Sectoral; sectorial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sectors in Science
The part of a circle bounded by two radii and the arc between them.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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