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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for conductors
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At a place which I cannot locate our German conductors were exchanged for French conductors.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • He desired a horse, but his conductors said, in derision, A horse for a heretic!

  • Both these things the conductors of "The Times" have systematically done.

    Captains of Industry James Parton
  • Warned by their officers, they laughed; begged by the conductors, they swore.

  • Blanka readily gave her consent to any plan that seemed best to her conductors.

    Manasseh Maurus Jokai
  • My conductors now returned, and escorted me into the presence of General Leadbetter.

    Daring and Suffering: William Pittenger
  • "It doesn't pay to associate with conductors," said the Flamingo.

    Andiron Tales John Kendrick Bangs
  • My bed was brought after me, and I was then left to myself by my conductors.

  • I suppose some firm makes them in great quantities for motormen and conductors.

    Child and Country Will Levington Comfort
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 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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