See more synonyms for indicator on
  1. a person or thing that indicates.
  2. a pointing or directing device, as a pointer on the dial of an instrument to show pressure, temperature, speed, volume, or the like.
  3. an instrument that indicates the condition of a machine or the like.
  4. an instrument for measuring and recording variations of pressure in the cylinder of an engine.
  5. Chemistry.
    1. a substance, as litmus, that indicates the presence or concentration of a certain constituent.
    2. a substance often used in a titration to indicate the point at which the reaction is complete.
  6. Ecology. a plant, animal, or species that indicates, by its presence in a given area, the existence of certain environmental conditions.

Origin of indicator

1660–70; < Medieval Latin indicātor, equivalent to Latin indicā(re) to indicate + -tor -tor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for indicator

gauge, signal, symbol, index, barometer, dial, omen, hint, meter, mark, beacon, warning, clue, pointer, guide

Examples from the Web for indicator

Contemporary Examples of indicator

Historical Examples of indicator

British Dictionary definitions for indicator


  1. something that provides an indication, esp of trendsSee economic indicator
  2. a device to attract attention, such as the pointer of a gauge or a warning lamp
  3. an instrument that displays certain operating conditions in a machine, such as a gauge showing temperature, speed, pressure, etc
    1. a device that records or registers something, such as the movements of a lift, or that shows information, such as arrival and departure times of trains
    2. (as modifier)indicator light
  4. Also called: blinker a device for indicating that a motor vehicle is about to turn left or right, esp two pairs of lights that flash when operated or a pair of trafficators
  5. Also called: dial gauge a delicate measuring instrument used to determine small differences in the height of mechanical components. It consists of a spring-loaded plunger that operates a pointer moving over a circular scale
  6. chem
    1. a substance used in titrations to indicate the completion of a chemical reaction, usually by a change of colour
    2. a substance, such as litmus, that indicates the presence of an acid or alkali
  7. Also called: indicator species ecology
    1. a plant or animal species that thrives only under particular environmental conditions and therefore indicates these conditions where it is found
    2. a species of plant or animal whose well-being confirms the well-being of other species in the area
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 indicator

1660s, from Late Latin indicator, agent noun from indicare (see indication). As a finger muscle, from 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

indicator in Medicine


  1. One that indicates, especially a pointer or an index.
  2. An instrument used to monitor the operation or condition of an engine, an electrical network, or another physical system; a meter or gauge.
  3. The needle, dial, or other registering device on such an instrument.
  4. Any of various substances, such as litmus or phenolphthalein, that indicate the presence, absence, or concentration of another substance or the degree of reaction between substances by means of a characteristic change, especially in color.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

indicator in Science


  1. A chemical compound that changes color and structure when exposed to certain conditions and is therefore useful for chemical tests. Litmus, for example, is an indicator that becomes red in the presence of acids and blue in the presence of bases.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.