[ kuh-pas-i-ter ]
/ kəˈpæs ɪ tər /

noun Electricity.

a device for accumulating and holding a charge of electricity, consisting of two equally charged conducting surfaces having opposite signs and separated by a dielectric.

Origin of capacitor

First recorded in 1925–30; capacit(y) + -or2
Also called condenser. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for capacitor

  • "Nice job these babies got," commented Gaines as he checked the capacitor circuits.

    The Small World of M-75|Ed M. Clinton, Jr.

British Dictionary definitions for capacitor


/ (kəˈpæsɪtə) /


a device for accumulating electric charge, usually consisting of two conducting surfaces separated by a dielectricFormer name: condenser
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 capacitor



"device which stores electricity," 1926, from capacity with Latinate agent-noun ending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for capacitor


[ kə-păsĭ-tər ]

An electrical device consisting of two conducting plates separated by an electrical insulator (the dielectric), designed to hold an electric charge. Charge builds up when a voltage is applied across the plates, creating an electric field between them. Current can flow through a capacitor only as the voltage across it is changing, not when it is constant. Capacitors are used in power supplies, amplifiers, signal processors, oscillators, and logic gates. Compare induction coil resistor.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for capacitor


[ (kuh-pas-i-tuhr) ]

A device used in electrical circuits. The capacitor stores an electrical charge for short periods of time, and then returns it to the circuit.

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.