1. a machine that converts one form of energy into another, especially mechanical energy into electrical energy, as a dynamo, or electrical energy into sound, as an acoustic generator.
  2. a person or thing that generates.
  3. Chemistry. an apparatus for producing a gas or vapor.
  4. Mathematics.
    1. an element or one of a set of elements from which a specified mathematical object can be formed by applying certain operations.
    2. an element, as a line, that generates a figure.
  5. Computers. a program that produces a particular type of output on demand, as random numbers, an application program, or a report.


  1. physics
    1. any device for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy by electromagnetic induction, esp a large one as in a power station
    2. a device for producing a voltage electrostatically
    3. any device that converts one form of energy into another forman acoustic generator
  2. an apparatus for producing a gas
  3. a person or thing that generates

1640s, “person or thing that generates,” from Latin generator “a begetter, producer,” agent noun from past participle stem of generare (see generation). Meaning “machine that generates power” first recorded 1794; in sense of “machine that generates electric energy,” 1879. Fem. generatrix attested from 1650s.


  1. One that generates, especially a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.

  1. A machine that converts mechanical energy into electricity to serve as a power source for other machines. Electrical generators found in power plants use water turbines, combustion engines, windmills, or other sources of mechanical energy to spin wire coils in strong magnetic fields, inducing an electric potential in the coils. A generator that provides alternating current power is called an alternator. See also induction.
  2. See generatrix.

A device that produces electric current (see also current), usually by rotating a conductor in a magnetic field, thereby generating current through electromagnetic induction. This sort of generator produces an alternating current (AC).

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