[ foh-toh-i-lek-trik ]

  1. pertaining to the electronic or other electric effects produced by light.

Origin of photoelectric

First recorded in 1860–65; photo- + electric
  • Sometimes pho·to·e·lec·tri·cal .

Other words from photoelectric

  • pho·to·e·lec·tri·cal·ly, adverb

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

How to use photoelectric in a sentence

  • Or there may be an inelastic collision, when the photon hits an atom and knocks out an electron—the old photoelectric effect.

    The Mercenaries | Henry Beam Piper
  • Two photoelectric robot machine guns followed each movement of the duelists.

    Thy Rocks and Rills | Robert Ernest Gilbert
  • He passed his hand rapidly over the photoelectric eye of the commo box.

    Null-ABC | Henry Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire
  • Here's your photoelectric light key for room 2305 F. That's on the two hundred thirtieth floor.

    Stand by for Mars! | Carey Rockwell
  • When I went downstairs he followed me, quietly, and I could feel his wide photoelectric eye-cells upon my back.

British Dictionary definitions for photoelectric



/ (ˌfəʊtəʊɪˈlɛktrɪk) /

  1. of or concerned with electric or electronic effects caused by light or other electromagnetic radiation

Derived forms of photoelectric

  • photoelectrically, adverb
  • photoelectricity (ˌfəʊtəʊɪlɛkˈtrɪsɪtɪ), noun

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 photoelectric


[ fō′tō-ĭ-lĕktrĭk ]

  1. Relating to or exhibiting to electrical effects upon exposure to light. For example, some photoelectric materials emit electrons called photoelectrons upon exposure to certain frequencies of light; others, such as photoresistors and phototransistors, change their electrical properties. See also photoelectric effect.

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