[ mag-nee-toh ]
/ mægˈni toʊ /

noun, plural mag·ne·tos. Electricity.

a small electric generator with an armature that rotates in a magnetic field provided by permanent magnets, as a generator supplying ignition current for certain types of internal combustion engines or a hand-operated generator for telephone signaling.

Nearby words

  1. magnetite,
  2. magnetizable,
  3. magnetization,
  4. magnetize,
  5. magnetizing force,
  6. magneto-,
  7. magneto-electric,
  8. magnetoacoustics,
  9. magnetocaloric effect,
  10. magnetochemistry

Origin of magneto

First recorded in 1880–85; short for magnetoelectric generator

Also called magnetoelectric generator, magnetogenerator.


a combining form representing magnetic or magnetism in compound words: magnetochemistry.
Also especially before a vowel, magnet-. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for magneto

British Dictionary definitions for magneto


/ (mæɡˈniːtəʊ) /

noun plural -tos

a small electric generator in which the magnetic field is produced by a permanent magnet, esp one for providing the spark in an internal-combustion engine

Word Origin for magneto

C19: short for magnetoelectric generator


combining form

indicating magnetism or magnetic propertiesmagnetosphere
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 magneto
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper