Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An object that is surrounded by a magnetic field and that has the property, either natural or induced, of attracting iron or steel.
  • n. An electromagnet.
  • n. A person, a place, an object, or a situation that exerts attraction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A piece of material that attracts some metals by magnetism.
  • n. A person or thing that attracts what is denoted by the preceding noun.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The loadstone; a species of iron ore (the ferrosoferric or magnetic ore, Fe3O4) which has the property of attracting iron and some of its ores, and, when freely suspended, of pointing to the poles; -- called also natural magnet.
  • n. A bar or mass of steel or iron to which the peculiar properties of the loadstone have been imparted; -- called, in distinction from the loadstone, an artificial magnet.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A body which possesses the property of attracting fragments of iron or steel, and which, when freely suspended, tends, under the action of the earth, to take a certain definite position, pointing approximately north and south.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a characteristic that provides pleasure and attracts
  • n. (physics) a device that attracts iron and produces a magnetic field

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French magnete, from Latin magnēs, magnēt-, from Greek Magnēs (lithos), Magnesian (stone), magnet, from Magnēsiā, Magnesia, an ancient city of Asia Minor.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the Greek μαγνήτης λίθος (magnítis líthos), magnesian stone. (Wiktionary)

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