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rheostat

[ree-uh-stat]
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noun Electricity.
  1. an adjustable resistor so constructed that its resistance may be changed without opening the circuit in which it is connected, thereby controlling the current in the circuit.
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Origin of rheostat

First recorded in 1843; rheo- + -stat
Related formsrhe·o·stat·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rheostat

Historical Examples

  • He moved the rheostat under his hand, and the thunder slackened.

    Astounding Stories of Super-Science, June, 1930

    Various

  • That gives you your direction, and the rheostat here at the belt changes the velocity.

    Islands of Space

    John W Campbell

  • To the left of this coil was a large relay switch, and a rheostat control.

    The Black Star Passes

    John W Campbell

  • Slowly he closed the rheostat and put the power into the coil.

    The Black Star Passes

    John W Campbell

  • The Commander hobbled toward it, and manipulated a rheostat.

    The Sky Trap

    Frank Belknap Long


British Dictionary definitions for rheostat

rheostat

noun
  1. a variable resistance, usually consisting of a coil of wire with a terminal at one end and a sliding contact that moves along the coil to tap off the current
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Derived Formsrheostatic, adjective
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 rheostat

n.

1843, coined by English physicist Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) from Greek rheos "a flowing, stream" (from PIE root *sreu-, see rheum) + -stat "regulating device." Related: Rheostatic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rheostat in Science

rheostat

[rēə-stăt′]
  1. See under resistor.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.