noun Electricity.

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.

Nearby words

  1. rheometric,
  2. rheometry,
  3. rheomorphism,
  4. rheopexy,
  5. rheoreceptor,
  6. rheostosis,
  7. rheotaxis,
  8. rheotron,
  9. rheotropism,
  10. rhesian

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for rheostat

British Dictionary definitions for rheostat



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
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



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for rheostat



See under resistor.
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