[ dih-tek-ter ]
/ dɪˈtɛk tər /


a person or thing that detects.
a device for detecting smoke, fire, or some other hazardous condition.
a device for detecting the presence of metal, contraband, or other items that might be hidden or concealed.
  1. a device for detecting electric oscillations or waves.
  2. a device, as a crystal detector or a vacuum tube, that rectifies the alternating current in a radio receiver.

Nearby words

  1. detainer,
  2. detect,
  3. detectable,
  4. detection,
  5. detective,
  6. detectorist,
  7. detent,
  8. detente,
  9. detention,
  10. detention camp

Origin of detector

1535–45; < Late Latin dētēctor revealer, equivalent to Latin dēteg(ere) to uncover, reveal (see detect) + -tor -tor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for detector

British Dictionary definitions for detector


/ (dɪˈtɛktə) /


a person or thing that detects
any mechanical sensing device
electronics a device used in the detection of radio signals
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 detector



1540s, from Latin detector "uncoverer, revealer," agent noun from detectus, past participle of detegere (see detect).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper