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  • 1 : one that generates: as a : an apparatus in which vapor or gas is formed
  • 2. : A producer or cause, esp. one characterized as masculine; spec. a male parent, a father.
b : a machine by which mechanical energy is changed into electrical energy
  • 2 : a mathematical entity that when subjected to one or more operations yields another mathematical entity or its elements


In electricity generation, an electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. The reverse conversion of electrical energy into mechanical energy is done by a motor; motors and generators have many similarities. A generator forces electrons in the windings to flow through the external electrical circuit. It is somewhat analogous to a water pump, which creates a flow of water but does not create the water inside. The source of mechanical energy may be a reciprocating or turbine steam engine, water falling through a turbine or waterwheel, an internal combustion engine, a wind turbine, a hand crank, compressed air or any other source of mechanical energy.