a cathode, in an electron tube (cold-cathode tube ) or lamp, that emits electrons without having to be heated.
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British Dictionary definitions for cold cathode
electronics a cathode from which electrons are emitted at ambient temperature, due to a high potential gradient at the surface
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