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[kuh-pas-i-tuh ns] /kəˈpæs ɪ təns/
noun, Electricity.
the ratio of an impressed charge on a conductor to the corresponding change in potential.
the ratio of the charge on either conductor of a capacitor to the potential difference between the conductors.
the property of being able to collect a charge of electricity. Symbol: C.
Origin of capacitance
First recorded in 1905-10; capacit(y) + -ance Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for capacitance
Historical Examples
  • The capacitance of a condenser or a circuit depends on its size and form and the voltage of the current that is charging it.

    The Radio Amateur's Hand Book A. Frederick Collins
  • The variable condenser used in series with the aerial wire system has 26 plates and is equal to a capacitance of .0008 mfd.

    The Radio Amateur's Hand Book A. Frederick Collins
  • The condenser used in the secondary coil circuit has 14 plates and this is equal to a capacitance of .0004 mfd.

    The Radio Amateur's Hand Book A. Frederick Collins
  • In honeycomb and other stagger wound coils the capacitance is more evenly distributed.

    The Radio Amateur's Hand Book A. Frederick Collins
  • As the blades of the tuning forks vibrate, the capacitance is alternately increased and decreased by the required amount.

    LRL Accelerators Lawrence Radiation Laboratory
British Dictionary definitions for capacitance


the property of a system that enables it to store electric charge
a measure of this, equal to the charge that must be added to such a system to raise its electrical potential by one unit
C Former name capacity
Derived Forms
capacitive, adjective
capacitively, adverb
Word Origin
C20: from capacit(y) + -ance
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 capacitance

1893, from capacity + -ance.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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capacitance in Science
A measure of the ability of a configuration of materials to store electric charge. In a capacitor, capacitance depends on the size of the plates, the type of insulator, and the amount of space between the plates. Most electrical components display capacitance to some degree; even the spaces between components of a circuit have a natural capacitance. Capacitance is measured in farads. Compare inductance.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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