Definition of rheostat in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrēəˌstat/


An electrical instrument used to control a current by varying the resistance.
Example sentences
  • She learned how to bend neon tubing into shapes and how to connect electrical circuits and insert rheostats and timers to provide special visual effects.
  • A rheostat, aka potentiometer or variable resistor is exactly that - a resistor that limits the current passing through it at a varying level - in this case, depending on the position of a rotating knob.
  • If your bathroom is bright, consider installing a rheostat (dimmer switch) or washing up by the light of a night light.



Pronunciation: /ˌrēəˈstatik/
Example sentences
  • This characteristic - a ‘rheostatic’ or ‘tunable’ quality - will allow commanders to increase or decrease the degree of influence used to effect compliance.
  • Furthermore, in keeping with the principle of providing ‘rheostatic capability,’ the U.S. Department of Defense is trying to develop weapons which allow it to select a ‘duration of effects.’
  • We power out of Kananook along the straight track, and the customary hiss of the westinghouse air brake combines with the downward-grinding sound of the rheostatic brakes to alert us to our arrival at Frankston.


Mid 19th century: from Greek rheos 'stream' + -stat.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: rhe·o·stat

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