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[kuh n-duhk-ter] /kənˈdʌk tər/
a person who conducts; a leader, guide, director, or manager.
an employee on a bus, train, or other public conveyance, who is in charge of the conveyance and its passengers, collects fares or tickets, etc.
a person who directs an orchestra or chorus, communicating to the performers by motions of a baton or the hands his or her interpretation of the music.
a substance, body, or device that readily conducts heat, electricity, sound, etc.:
Copper is a good conductor of electricity.
Origin of conductor
late Middle English
1400-50; < Latin (see conduce, -tor); replacing late Middle English cond(u)itour < Anglo-French, equivalent to Middle French conduiteur < Latin as above; see conduit
Related forms
[kon-duhk-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /ˌkɒn dʌkˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/ (Show IPA),
conductorship, noun
multiconductor, adjective
preconductor, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for conductors
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was composed of ex-motormen and conductors in part, with a sprinkling of friends and sympathisers.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • My bed was brought after me, and I was then left to myself by my conductors.

  • Directly back to the road over which the young soldiers had come their conductors led the way.

    The Young Sharpshooter at Antietam Everett T. Tomlinson
  • I suppose some firm makes them in great quantities for motormen and conductors.

    Child and Country Will Levington Comfort
  • When we arrived in Buxa I had thought the buildings well protected, as conductors ran down every chimney in bungalow and barrack.

    Life in an Indian Outpost Gordon Casserly
  • Instead of opposing his progress, they became the conductors and guides of his army.

    Hannibal Jacob Abbott
  • The conductors on the magnet coils are likewise carefully protected from harm by metal coverings.

  • At a place which I cannot locate our German conductors were exchanged for French conductors.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Line loss ordinarily refers to the percentage of total power consumed in the conductors at maximum load.

British Dictionary definitions for conductors


an official on a bus who collects fares, checks tickets, etc
Also called (esp US) director. a person who conducts an orchestra, choir, etc
a person who leads or guides
(US & Canadian) a railway official in charge of a train
a substance, body, or system that conducts electricity, heat, etc
Derived Forms
conductorship, noun
conductress (kənˈdʌktrɪs) noun:feminine
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 conductors



1520s, "one who leads or guides," from Middle French conductour (14c., Old French conduitor), from Latin conductor "one who hires, contractor," in Late Latin "a carrier," from conductus, past participle of conducere (see conduce).

Earlier in same sense was conduitour (early 15c., from Old French conduitor). Meaning "leader of an orchestra or chorus" is from 1784; meaning "one who has charge of passengers and collects fares on a railroad" is 1832, American English. Physics sense of "object or device that passes heat" is from 1745; of electricity from 1737.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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conductors in Medicine

conductor con·duc·tor (kən-dŭk'tər)

  1. A substance or medium that conducts heat, light, sound, or especially an electric charge.

  2. An instrument or probe having a groove along which a knife is passed in slitting open a sinus or fistula; a grooved director.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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conductors in Science
A material or an object that conducts heat, electricity, light, or sound. Electrical conductors contain electric charges (usually electrons) that are relatively free to move through the material; a voltage applied across the conductor therefore creates an electric current. Insulators (electrical nonconductors) contain no charges that move when subject to a voltage. Compare insulator. See also resistance, superconductivity.

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

conductor definition

A material through which electric current can pass. In general, metals are good conductors. Copper or aluminum is normally used to conduct electricity in commercial and household systems. (Compare insulator.)

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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