• synonyms


[kuh n-duhk-ter]
See more synonyms for conductor on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person who conducts; a leader, guide, director, or manager.
  2. an employee on a bus, train, or other public conveyance, who is in charge of the conveyance and its passengers, collects fares or tickets, etc.
  3. a person who directs an orchestra or chorus, communicating to the performers by motions of a baton or the hands his or her interpretation of the music.
  4. a substance, body, or device that readily conducts heat, electricity, sound, etc.: Copper is a good conductor of electricity.
  5. lightning rod.
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Origin of conductor

1400–50; < Latin (see conduce, -tor); replacing late Middle English cond(u)itour < Anglo-French, equivalent to Middle French conduiteur < Latin as above; see conduit
Related formscon·duc·to·ri·al [kon-duhk-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /ˌkɒn dʌkˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/, adjectivecon·duc·tor·ship, nounmul·ti·con·duc·tor, adjectivepre·con·duc·tor, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

director, maestro, manager, supervisor, master, marshal, guide

Examples from the Web for conductor

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The conductor was standing on the pavement when John descended.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • I engaged a retired army colonel for a conductor on board my yacht.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • I, who had engaged as Conductor of the Set and found myself their Arbiter as well.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • "Citizen Defarge," said he to Darnay's conductor, as he took a slip of paper to write on.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • The one was to be, as it were, the conductor, and the other the statesman of the expeditionary corps.


    Theodor Hertzka

British Dictionary definitions for conductor


  1. an official on a bus who collects fares, checks tickets, etc
  2. Also called (esp US): director a person who conducts an orchestra, choir, etc
  3. a person who leads or guides
  4. US and Canadian a railway official in charge of a train
  5. a substance, body, or system that conducts electricity, heat, etc
  6. See lightning conductor
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Derived Formsconductorship, nounconductress (kənˈdʌktrɪs), fem n
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 conductor


1520s, "one who leads or guides," from Middle French conductour (14c., Old French conduitor), from Latin conductor "one who hires, contractor," in Late Latin "a carrier," from conductus, past participle of conducere (see conduce).

Earlier in same sense was conduitour (early 15c., from Old French conduitor). Meaning "leader of an orchestra or chorus" is from 1784; meaning "one who has charge of passengers and collects fares on a railroad" is 1832, American English. Physics sense of "object or device that passes heat" is from 1745; of electricity from 1737.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

conductor in Medicine


  1. A substance or medium that conducts heat, light, sound, or especially an electric charge.
  2. An instrument or probe having a groove along which a knife is passed in slitting open a sinus or fistula; a grooved director.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

conductor in Science


  1. A material or an object that conducts heat, electricity, light, or sound. Electrical conductors contain electric charges (usually electrons) that are relatively free to move through the material; a voltage applied across the conductor therefore creates an electric current. Insulators (electrical nonconductors) contain no charges that move when subject to a voltage. Compare insulator. See also resistance superconductivity.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

conductor in Culture


A material through which electric current (see also current) can pass. In general, metals are good conductors. Copper or aluminum is normally used to conduct electricity in commercial and household systems. (Compare insulator.)

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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.