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  1. a nonconducting substance; insulator.
  2. a substance in which an electric field can be maintained with a minimum loss of power.
  1. of or relating to a dielectric substance.

Origin of dielectric

First recorded in 1830–40; di-3 + electric
Related formsdi·e·lec·tri·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dielectric

Historical Examples

  • You see, the dielectric constant of this material isn't constant at all.


    Poul William Anderson

  • The dielectric consisted of about equal parts of hard paraffin and vaseline.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

  • A portion of the charge was absorbed by the dielectric itself.

  • According to Faraday's theory the particles of air, the dielectric, between A and C play a most important part in the process.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper

  • Dielectric, dī-e-lek′trik, adj. non-conducting: transmitting electric effects without conducting.

British Dictionary definitions for dielectric


  1. a substance or medium that can sustain a static electric field within it
  2. a substance or body of very low electrical conductivity; insulator
  1. of, concerned with, or having the properties of a dielectric
Derived Formsdielectrically, adverb

Word Origin

from dia- + electric
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

dielectric in Science


  1. Having little or no ability to conduct electricity, generally as a result of having no electrons that are free to move.
  1. A dielectric substance, especially one used in a capacitor to maintain an electric field between the plates.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

dielectric in Culture



A material that conducts (see conduction) electricity poorly or not at all. If a voltage is applied to a dielectric, the atoms in the material arrange themselves in such a way as to oppose the flow of electric current (see also current). Glass, wood, and plastic are common dielectrics. (See insulator.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.