Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[dih-tek-ter] /dɪˈtɛk tər/
a person or thing that detects.
a device for detecting smoke, fire, or some other hazardous condition.
a device for detecting the presence of metal, contraband, or other items that might be hidden or concealed.
  1. a device for detecting electric oscillations or waves.
  2. a device, as a crystal detector or a vacuum tube, that rectifies the alternating current in a radio receiver.
Origin of detector
1535-45; < Late Latin dētēctor revealer, equivalent to Latin dēteg(ere) to uncover, reveal (see detect) + -tor -tor Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for detector
Historical Examples
  • Edwardson asked, over the clamor of the detector alarm bell.

    The Hour of Battle Robert Sheckley
  • The detector, although the most important of the instruments, is perhaps the simplest.

    Boy Scouts Handbook Boy Scouts of America
  • But of course they didn't have our detector screens nor our armament.

    Triplanetary Edward Elmer Smith
  • It looped and turned, hunting, feeling with its every detector for that other ship.

    The Black Star Passes John W Campbell
  • His detector now was in his hand, but Halsey anticipated him by a second or two.

    Wandl the Invader Raymond King Cummings
  • He had his detector going, and Anita warned me not to try it.

    Wandl the Invader Raymond King Cummings
  • The first thing I want to ask you about is this detector of yours.

    That Sweet Little Old Lady Gordon Randall Garrett (AKA Mark Phillips)
  • "At first we thought of errors in the detector machine," he went on.

    That Sweet Little Old Lady Gordon Randall Garrett (AKA Mark Phillips)
  • No doubt they are all right; but just to pass time, I'll compare them with the detector here.

    The Confidence-Man Herman Melville
  • The detector was simple, though the tuning had to be precise.

    Deathworld Harry Harrison
British Dictionary definitions for detector


a person or thing that detects
any mechanical sensing device
(electronics) a device used in the detection of radio signals
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 detector

1540s, from Latin detector "uncoverer, revealer," agent noun from detectus, past participle of detegere (see detect).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for detector

Word Value for detector

Scrabble Words With Friends