1. a person or thing that detects.
  2. a device for detecting smoke, fire, or some other hazardous condition.
  3. a device for detecting the presence of metal, contraband, or other items that might be hidden or concealed.
  4. Telecommunications.
    1. a device for detecting electric oscillations or waves.
    2. a device, as a crystal detector or a vacuum tube, that rectifies the alternating current in a radio receiver.


  1. a person or thing that detects
  2. any mechanical sensing device
  3. electronics a device used in the detection of radio signals

1540s, from Latin detector “uncoverer, revealer,” agent noun from detectus, past participle of detegere (see detect).

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