Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Best Internet Slang

cathode

[kath-ohd] /ˈkæθ oʊd/
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
1825-1835
1825-35; < Greek káthodos a way down, equivalent to kat- cat- + hodós way
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for cathode
Historical Examples
  • The cathode is preferably formed of the same metal which is to be obtained.

  • 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
  • This may be remedied to some extent by stirring or keeping the cathode in motion.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • The phenomenon is particularly marked at the edges and corners of the cathode.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • He disconnected one of the room's tube-lights and contacted with the cathode.

    Wandl the Invader Raymond King Cummings
  • This is melted in an iron pot which also serves as the cathode in the electrolysis.

  • He applied the current, moving the anode and the cathode slowly.

    The Silent Bullet Arthur B. Reeve
  • The current always flows within the cell from anode to the cathode.

    Physics Willis Eugene Tower
British Dictionary definitions for cathode

cathode

/ˈkæθəʊd/
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 Forms
cathodal (kæˈθəʊdəl), cathodic (kæˈθɒdɪk; -ˈθəʊ-), 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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source
cathode in Science
cathode
  (kāth'ōd')   
  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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for cathode

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for cathode

13
13
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for cathode