cathode









cathode


noun

  1. the electrode or terminal by which current leaves an electrolytic cell, voltaic cell, battery, etc.
  2. the positive terminal of a voltaic cell or battery.
  3. the negative terminal, electrode, or element of an electron tube or electrolytic cell.

noun

  1. the negative electrode in an electrolytic cell; the electrode by which electrons enter a device from an external circuit
  2. the negatively charged electron source in an electronic valve
  3. the positive terminal of a primary cell
n.

1834, from Latinized form of Greek kathodos “a way down,” from kata- “down” (see cata-) + hodos “way” (see cede). Proposed by the Rev. William Whewell (1794-1866), English polymath, and published by English chemist and physicist Michael Faraday (1791-1867). So called from the path the electric current was supposed to take. Related: Cathodic; cathodal. Cathode ray first attested 1880, but the phenomenon known from 1859; cathode ray tube is from 1905.

  1. The negative electrode in an electrolytic cell, toward which positively charged particles are attracted. The cathode has a negative charge because it is connected to the negatively charged end of an external power supply.
  2. The source of electrons in an electrical device, such as a vacuum tube or diode.
  3. The positive electrode of a voltaic cell, such as a battery. The cathode gets its positive charge from the chemical reaction that happens inside the battery, not from an external source. Compare anode.

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