a combining form extracted from electron, used with nouns or combining forms, principally in the names of electron tubes (ignitron; klystron; magnetron) and of devices for accelerating subatomic particles (cosmotron; cyclotron); also, more generally, in the names of any kind of chamber or apparatus used in experiments (biotron).
Origin of -tron
by initial shortening of electron, with perhaps accidental allusion to the Gk instrumental suffix -tron, as in árotron plough
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for -tron
suffix forming nouns
indicating a vacuum tubemagnetron
indicating an instrument for accelerating atomic or subatomic particlessynchrotron
Word Origin for -tron
from Greek, suffix indicating instrument
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
Word Origin and History for -tron
as a word-forming element in new compounds formed in physics, 1939, abstracted from electron (Greek -tron was an instrumentive suffix).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper