Definitions

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

  • n. A small electronic device containing a semiconductor and having at least three electrical contacts, used in a circuit as an amplifier, detector, or switch.
  • n. A transistor radio.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a solid-state semiconductor device, with three terminals, which can be used for amplification, switching, voltage stabilization, signal modulation, and many other functions
  • n. a transistor radio

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a component used in electronic devices consisting of three regions of at least two types of a semiconducting material, such as doped silicon, connected to each other and to three electrodes in a conducting path so as to modify the current or voltage in an electronic circuit.

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

  • n. a semiconductor device capable of amplification

Etymologies

trans(fer) + (res)istor.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Blend of transconductance (or transfer) and resistor (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • As their colleagues watched with a mix of wonder and envy, they showed how their gizmo, which was dubbed a transistor, could take an electric current, amplify it, and switch it on and off.

    American Sketches

  • The leak-free transistor is made from a "nano-ribbon" of graphene less than 10 nanometres wide and just a single carbon atom thick (0.1 nm).

    Atom-Thick Carbon Transistor May Replace Silicon | Impact Lab

  • Gordon Moore, co-founder of the company and father of the law that bears his name, called it the biggest change in transistor technology since the 1960s.

    Top 10 Scientific Breakthroughs of 2007 « Isegoria

  • Noyce came up with the two key inventions to make a practical integrated circuit: by leaving the oxide on, one could run interconnections as metal films over the top of its devices; and one could also put structures inside the silicon that isolated one transistor from the other.

    The Accidental Entrepreneur

  • If such a transistor is cooled to just above absolute zero, -273 degrees Celsius, and is exposed to a magnetic field a million times stronger than that of the earth, the remarkable phenomenon discovered by Störmer and Tsui sixteen years ago appears.

    The Nobel Prize in Physics 1998 - Presentation Speech

  • The photo-transistor is a member of the transistor family behaving like a photo-electric cell, or maybe to you, an electric eye.

    Telephony—A New Era in the Making

  • The transistor is indeed the tool we need to do the things that the future of our business requires.

    Telephony—A New Era in the Making

  • But the transistor is more than just a simplified, economical replacement for a larger piece of equipment.

    Telephony—A New Era in the Making

  • For example, if the engineers at Bell Laboratories had coined the word transistor and used it only in their original research reports, that would be interesting, but scarcely as important as the word's subsequent extraordinary frequency in the language, evidenced by its widespread use.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol 2 No 1

  • The part about "once again" reinventing the transistor is a bit far-fetched.

    Intel 3D transistors: why and when?

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