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cathode

[kath-ohd]
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noun
  1. the electrode or terminal by which current leaves an electrolytic cell, voltaic cell, battery, etc.
  2. the positive terminal of a voltaic cell or battery.
  3. the negative terminal, electrode, or element of an electron tube or electrolytic cell.

Origin of cathode

1825–35; < Greek káthodos a way down, equivalent to kat- cat- + hodós way
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cathode

Historical Examples

  • The cathode is preferably formed of the same metal which is to be obtained.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 433, April 19, 1884

    Various

  • To the anode he attached one of the negatives, to the cathode a small piece of iron.

    Spawn of the Comet

    Harold Thompson Rich

  • Waving away that orange gas, he reached for the cathode and held it up.

    Spawn of the Comet

    Harold Thompson Rich

  • The cathode as shown in Fig. 41 is rather smaller than is advantageous.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

  • The phenomenon is particularly marked at the edges and corners of the cathode.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall


British Dictionary definitions for cathode

cathode

noun
  1. the negative electrode in an electrolytic cell; the electrode by which electrons enter a device from an external circuit
  2. the negatively charged electron source in an electronic valve
  3. the positive terminal of a primary cell
Compare anode
Derived Formscathodal (kæˈθəʊdəl), cathodic (kæˈθɒdɪk, -ˈθəʊ-) or cathodical, adjective

Word Origin

C19: from Greek kathodos a descent, from kata- down + hodos way
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

Word Origin and History for cathode

n.

1834, from Latinized form of Greek kathodos "a way down," from kata- "down" (see cata-) + hodos "way" (see cede). Proposed by the Rev. William Whewell (1794-1866), English polymath, and published by English chemist and physicist Michael Faraday (1791-1867). So called from the path the electric current was supposed to take. Related: Cathodic; cathodal. Cathode ray first attested 1880, but the phenomenon known from 1859; cathode ray tube is from 1905.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cathode in Science

cathode

[kăthōd′]
  1. The negative electrode in an electrolytic cell, toward which positively charged particles are attracted. The cathode has a negative charge because it is connected to the negatively charged end of an external power supply.
  2. The source of electrons in an electrical device, such as a vacuum tube or diode.
  3. The positive electrode of a voltaic cell, such as a battery. The cathode gets its positive charge from the chemical reaction that happens inside the battery, not from an external source. Compare anode.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.