[ soh-luh-noid, sol-uh- ]

  1. Electricity. an electric conductor wound as a helix with small pitch, or as two or more coaxial helices, so that current through the conductor establishes a magnetic field within the conductor.

  2. Also called solenoid switch . a switch controlled by such an arrangement, in which a metal rod moves when the current is turned on: used in automotive starting systems.

  1. Meteorology. a space formed by the intersection of isobaric and isosteric surfaces.

Origin of solenoid

1825–35; <French solénoïde<Greek sōlḗn pipe, channel + French -oïde-oid

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

How to use solenoid in a sentence

  • The amount the armature B is rotated will depend upon the relative effects of the pole of the solenoid and the permanent magnet G.

  • The effect can be very greatly increased by providing the solenoid with a soft-iron core.

  • It was International code—being sent as fast as the solenoid could be operated.

    The Velvet Glove | Harry Harrison
  • Such a low, parallel magnetic field would quite probably be found inside of a simple solenoid coil.

    Where I Wasn't Going | Walt Richmond
  • On the lower horizontal roller carrying the supply of paper is a ratchet and pawl movement, actuated by a solenoid.

    Practical Cinematography and Its Applications | Frederick Arthur Ambrose Talbot

British Dictionary definitions for solenoid


/ (ˈsəʊlɪˌnɔɪd) /

  1. a coil of wire, usually cylindrical, in which a magnetic field is set up by passing a current through it

  2. a coil of wire, partially surrounding an iron core, that is made to move inside the coil by the magnetic field set up by a current: used to convert electrical to mechanical energy, as in the operation of a switch

  1. such a device used as a relay, as in a motor vehicle for connecting the battery directly to the starter motor when activated by the ignition switch

Origin of solenoid

C19: from French solénoïde, from Greek sōlēn a pipe, tube

Derived forms of solenoid

  • solenoidal, adjective
  • solenoidally, adverb

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 solenoid


[ lə-noid′ ]

  1. A coil of wire that acts as an electromagnet when electric current is passed through it, often used to control the motion of metal objects, such as the switch of a relay.

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