Daniel Lawrence’s 750-1000-Word Expanded Definition Phase 2


The purpose of this document is to illustrate the various definitions that are applicable to a chosen term, this term was chosen based on it’s significance in the specific professional field of Electrical Engineering. The word that was chosen is Inductor , the following explanation and discussion of this term is supported by historical definitions as well as how it’s used currently. To begin this paper , will be all the definitions associated with the chosen term. Following that is a more in depth analysis of the term to show the context it’s used in, ending off with the working definition and how it’s incorporated in the Electrical Engineering field. This paper used information from sources such as the Oxford English Dictionary(OED), Ursula C. Schwerin Library(CityTech library) as well as others. 


Beginning with the Oxford English Dictionary(OED) the term Inductor has had a few variations in meaning over time. The earliest mention of the term was around the 1650 which goes as the following, “ One who introduces or initiates ”(OED 2019). After reviewing this term and comparing it to my knowledge on inductors in it’s professional capacity, it seems as if like so many words during its era was taken as literally as possible. It can be seen as a common deduction to take the induct portion from the term and relate that to the actions of introducting something or to bring it forth. The way this definition was used can be seen by the following quote obtained from the OED website. “ But who should act and personate these?.. Sar. Ile play the Inductor, and then we are all fitted”(OED 2019). This definition may be the furthest from how it’s used in engineering today but one can tie them together through its action of initiating something wether an event or a current.

Another definition seen listed by the OED goes as the following, “ Any substance which while reacting with one substance (the ‘actor’) increases the rate at which this reacts with a second substance (the ‘acceptor’); a substance that has an accelerating effect on a reaction but differs from a catalyst in being consumed.”(OED 2019). This definition listed more recently than the previous, around the 1900’s, however it was seen more in the field of Chemistry than Electrical Engineering. This definition is a little more difficult to see a connection since my knowledge on Chemistry is limited, despite that the term is heading more into a scientific capacity as compared to the previous definition mentioned. The definition in this case may have steamed from relating the word inducing which would be more suited to with this definition. 

Presenting the next definition proved to be personally the most unclear definition as well as the most difficulty in finding a compatible link between the present and given explanations. Around the mid 1900’s according to the OED database the term Inductor was used in the field of Embroidery as such, “ A region of an embryo, or a substance produced by such a region, capable of causing induction”(OED 2019). I didn’t expect with a word so focused in the Engineering field, in which I study, to have such an application so far removed from how I view it. This could be due to the fact of the term thats defined used in it’s own definition. 

The final definition this paper is going to address is one that’s more closely associated with how the chosen term is used today. Based on OED Inductor is defined as, “A conductor or device in which an e.m.f. or current is induced;   earth inductor n. a device for investigating the earth’s magnetic field, consisting essentially of a coil of wire that can be rapidly turned about an axis in its own plane so that a current is induced in it proportional to the component of the field normal to the axis of rotation”. The term e.m.f used in the definition presented describes the elctro-motive force produced by an active inductor. Majority of the definitions listed have the common thread as it relates to the act of bringing forth or causing a reaction to create.  


Moving away from the definition we can focus more on the context of in which the term Inductor is used. Seen in an article from wired’s online magazine “When current runs through the first loop, it creates a magnetic field … acts like a battery.”(Wired, 2016) This quote best describes the context of which this term is best used in. Going in a little more in depth on this quote as the wires wrap around a core it has a magnetic field that has a direction or polarity that matters since when the field is pierced perpendicularly it creates magnetic-flux in doing so propels a current. 

Using another source of reference found to aid in explaining the context of how Inductor is used is found with, “Inductance is the ability of an inductor to store energy and it does this in the magnetic field that is created by the flow of electrical current”. (Electronic-notes.com). This adds to the information in the previous paragraph, adding to it an inductor is a passive component, a component that can’t introduce a new energy into the system as it only relies on the energy sources that are already present in the circuit.

Working Definition

After review all the many definitions I could find I settle on the best one that relates most to my chosen career field. The working definition I chose is the last one mentioned in the definitions section. As it best and clearly incorporates all the aspects and terms used in engineering best, based on all the other definitions that was obtained.


Inductor, (1), (2019).OED Online, September 2019. www-oed-com.citytech.ezproxy.cuny.edu/view/Entry/94792?redirectedFrom=inductor#eid

Inductor, (4), (2019).OED Online, September 2019. www-oed-com.citytech.ezproxy.cuny.edu/view/Entry/94792?redirectedFrom=inductor#eid

Inductor, (5), (2019).OED Online, September 2019. www-oed-com.citytech.ezproxy.cuny.edu/view/Entry/94792?redirectedFrom=inductor#eid

Inductor, (3.b), (2019).OED Online, September 2019. www-oed-com.citytech.ezproxy.cuny.edu/view/Entry/94792?redirectedFrom=inductor#eid

RHETT ALLAIN. (May 2016) “Go Ahead, Connect an Inductor and Capacitor and See What Happens”. Wired. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2016/05/go-ahead-connect-inductor-capacitor-see-happens/

“Inductance: understand the basics”. Electronic-Notes. https://www.electronics-notes.com/articles/basic_concepts/inductance/inductance-basics-tutorial.php

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