[ kuhn-duhk-shuhn ]
See synonyms for conduction on
  1. the act of conducting, as of water through a pipe.

  2. Physics.

    • the transfer of heat between two parts of a stationary system, caused by a temperature difference between the parts.

    • transmission through a conductor.

  1. Physiology. the carrying of sound waves, electrons, heat, or nerve impulses by a nerve or other tissue.

Origin of conduction

First recorded in 1530–40; from Latin conductiōn-, stem of conductiō “a bringing together, a hiring,” equivalent to conduct(us) “brought together” (past participle of condūcere “to lead, bring together”; see conduce) + -iō -ion

Other words from conduction

  • con·duc·tion·al, adjective
  • pre·con·duc·tion, noun

Words Nearby conduction Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use conduction in a sentence

  • I now know this was a conduction-style vaporizer, which requires a chamber to hold the steam.

  • But a few decades ago this same ability to disrupt nerve conduction led to a medical use: deliberate, targeted paralysis.

    The Deadliest Botox Has Arrived | Kent Sepkowitz | October 18, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • This small gap is a place of bad conduction and of the piling up of atoms, producing heat, burning, light.

    Steam Steel and Electricity | James W. Steele
  • With regard to the conduction of sound—it is to be noted that sound is carried astonishingly far by means of compact bodies.

    Criminal Psychology | Hans Gross
  • There is also a trophic differentiation, the fibres undertaking special functions of nutrition (the conduction of the sap).

    The Wonders of Life | Ernst Haeckel
  • The whole question of conduction of electricity through the earth is very perplexing.

  • The transmission in the petiole of Mimosa is a phenomenon of conduction.

    Life Movements in Plants | Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose

British Dictionary definitions for conduction


/ (kənˈdʌkʃən) /

  1. the transfer of energy by a medium without bulk movement of the medium itself: heat conduction,; electrical conduction,; sound conduction Compare convection (def. 1)

  2. the transmission of an electrical or chemical impulse along a nerve fibre

  1. the act of conveying or conducting, as through a pipe

  2. physics another name for conductivity (def. 1)

Derived forms of conduction

  • conductional, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for conduction


[ kən-dŭkshən ]

  1. The transfer of energy, such as heat or an electric charge, through a substance. In heat conduction, energy is transferred from molecule to molecule by direct contact; the molecules themselves do not necessarily change position, but simply vibrate more or less quickly against each other. In electrical conduction, energy is transferred by the movement of electrons or ions. Compare convection. See also radiation.

a closer look

Heat is a form of energy that manifests itself in the motion of molecules and atoms, as well as subatomic particles. Heat energy can be transferred by conduction, convection, or radiation. In conduction heat spreads through a substance when faster atoms and molecules collide with neighboring slower ones, transferring some of their kinetic energy to them. This is how the handle of a teaspoon sticking out of a cup of hot tea eventually gets hot, though it is not in direct contact with the hot liquid. When a fluid is heated, portions of the fluid near the source of the heat tend to become less dense and expand outward, causing currents in the fluid. When these less dense regions rise, cooler portions flow in to take their place, which are then themselves subject to heating. This current flow is called convection. Many ocean currents are convection currents caused by the uneven heating of the ocean waters by the Sun. Radiation transmits heat in the form of electromagnetic waves, especially infrared waves, which have a lower frequency than visible light but a higher frequency than microwaves. Atoms and molecules in a substance struck by such radiation readily absorb the energy from these waves, thereby increasing their own kinetic energy and thus the temperature of the substance.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for conduction


Transfer of energy through a medium (for example, heat or electricity through metal) without any apparent change in the medium.

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.