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

  • n. A device that produces alternating current for distribution to the spark plugs, used in the ignition systems of some internal-combustion engines.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a dynamo that provides power to the spark plugs of a small internal combustion engine

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small electric generator with an armature rotating in a magnetic field, having a secondary winding that generates a high voltage, such as one used to generate a voltage sufficient to cause a spark to jump between the poles of a spark plug in an internal-combustion engine.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A magneto-electric machine: as, a magneto-motor.
  • n. A combining form of magnet or magnetic, often implying especially magneto-electric.
  • n. Specifically, the electric generator used as the source of the current in internal-combustion motors (the engines of motor-cars in particular) to cause the spark which ignites the combustible mixture.

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

  • n. a small dynamo with a secondary winding that produces a high voltage enabling a spark to jump between the poles of a spark plug in a gasoline engine


Short for magnetoelectric machine.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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