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[trans-fawr-mer] /trænsˈfɔr mər/
a person or thing that transforms.
Electricity. an electric device consisting essentially of two or more windings wound on the same core, which by electromagnetic induction transforms electric energy from one set of one or more circuits to another set of one or more circuits such that the frequency of the energy remains unchanged while the voltage and current usually change.
Origin of transformer
1595-1605; transform + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for transformer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That is the "primary" of a transformer, and the "secondary" is—the iron itself, in the trough.

  • You know what a transformer does, but what does the name by itself convey?

    By Proxy Gordon Randall Garrett
  • He is the transformer of her, not she of him; for she will reduce man to a beast, unless he reduces her to reason.

    Homer's Odyssey Denton J. Snider
  • This knob here controls a condenser, and this one a transformer.

  • He was not shorted by any part of the transformer or any wire he might be touching in the darkness.

    A Yankee Flier in Italy Rutherford G. Montgomery
  • The secondary of this transformer is connected to the antenn (A) and the earth (E).

    Physics Willis Eugene Tower
  • A steam engine is a transformer of energy, changing caloric energy into mechanical work.

    The Mechanism of Life Stphane Leduc
  • These last pieces are to form the core and part of the end of the transformer.

British Dictionary definitions for transformer


a device that transfers an alternating current from one circuit to one or more other circuits, usually with an increase (step-up transformer) or decrease (step-down transformer) of voltage. The input current is fed to a primary winding, the output being taken from a secondary winding or windings inductively linked to the primary
a person or thing that transforms
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 transformer

"device to reduce electrical currents," 1883, from French transformateur (1882); see transform.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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transformer in Science

A device used to change the voltage of an alternating current in one circuit to a different voltage in a second circuit, or to partially isolate two circuits from each other. Transformers consist of two or more coils of conducting material, such as wire, wrapped around a core (often made of iron). The magnetic field produced by an alternating current in one coil induces a similar current in the other coils. ◇ If there are fewer turns on the coil that carries the source of the power than there are on a second coil, the second coil will provide the same power but at a higher voltage. This is called a step-up transformer. ◇ If there are fewer turns on the second coil than on the source coil, the outgoing power will have a lower voltage. This is called a step-down transformer. Compare converter, rectifier.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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transformer in Culture

transformer definition

A device used to transfer electrical energy from one circuit to another. With an alternating current, a transformer will either raise or lower the voltage as it makes the transfer.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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