A train conductor is the person who takes tickets, shouts "All aboard!" and might control the engine, while a musical conductor is the one who leads an orchestra. Same job title — not the same person.

From the Latin root conducere, meaning "bring together," a conductor does just that. A music conductor makes sure all the musicians come in at the right time and tempo, and a train conductor brings together all of the passengers. Another type of conductor is something that passes on electricity or heat, like a metal spoon, a conductor of heat when left in a pot that's simmering on the stove.

Definitions of conductor
  1. noun
    the person who leads a musical group
    synonyms: director, music director
    see moresee less
    show 15 examples...
    hide 15 examples...
    Leonard Bernstein
    United States conductor and composer (1918-1990)
    Lord Britten of Aldeburgh
    major English composer of the 20th century; noted for his operas (1913-1976)
    Arthur Fiedler
    popular United States conductor (1894-1979)
    Paul Hindemith
    German neoclassical composer and conductor who believed that music should have a social purpose (1895-1963)
    Sergei Aleksandrovich Koussevitzky
    United States conductor (born in Russia) who was noted for performing the works of contemporary composers (1874-1951)
    Leonard Constant Lambert
    English composer and conductor (1905-1951)
    Gustav Mahler
    Austrian composer and conductor (1860-1911)
    Eugene Ormandy
    United States conductor (born in Hungary) (1899-1985)
    Seiji Ozawa
    United States conductor (born in Japan in 1935)
    Leopold Antoni Stanislaw Stokowski
    United States conductor (born in Britain) (1882-1977)
    George Szell
    United States conductor (born in Hungary) (1897-1970)
    Arturo Toscanini
    Italian conductor of many orchestras worldwide (1867-1957)
    Bruno Walter
    German conductor (1876-1962)
    Baron Karl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber
    German conductor and composer of romantic operas (1786-1826)
    Sir Henry Joseph Wood
    English conductor (1869-1944)
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    the leader of a dance band
    the conductor of a band
    drum major
    the leader of a marching band or drum corps
    drum majorette, majorette
    a female drum major
    type of:
    artist who composes or conducts music as a profession
  2. noun
    the person who collects fares on a public conveyance
    see moresee less
    a woman conductor
    type of:
    accumulator, collector, gatherer
    a person who is employed to collect payments (as for rent or taxes)
  3. noun
    a substance that readily conducts e.g. electricity and heat
    see moresee less
    dielectric, insulator, nonconductor
    a material such as glass or porcelain with negligible electrical or thermal conductivity
    show 7 types...
    hide 7 types...
    Cu, atomic number 29, copper
    a ductile malleable reddish-brown corrosion-resistant diamagnetic metallic element; occurs in various minerals but is the only metal that occurs abundantly in large masses; used as an electrical and thermal conductor
    Ag, atomic number 47, silver
    a soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal; occurs in argentite and in free form; used in coins and jewelry and tableware and photography
    semiconducting material, semiconductor
    a substance as germanium or silicon whose electrical conductivity is intermediate between that of a metal and an insulator; its conductivity increases with temperature and in the presence of impurities
    Ge, atomic number 32, germanium
    a brittle grey crystalline element that is a semiconducting metalloid (resembling silicon) used in transistors; occurs in germanite and argyrodite
    Si, atomic number 14, silicon
    a tetravalent nonmetallic element; next to oxygen it is the most abundant element in the earth's crust; occurs in clay and feldspar and granite and quartz and sand; used as a semiconductor in transistors
    blister copper
    an impure form of copper having a black blistered surface
    coin silver
    a silver of the degree of purity established for making legal silver coins
    type of:
    material, stuff
    the tangible substance that goes into the makeup of a physical object
  4. noun
    a device designed to transmit electricity, heat, etc.
    see moresee less
    show 35 types...
    hide 35 types...
    bus, busbar
    an electrical conductor that makes a common connection between several circuits
    cable, line, transmission line
    a conductor for transmitting electrical or optical signals or electric power
    cord, electric cord
    a light insulated conductor for household use
    a conductor used to make electrical contact with some part of a circuit
    heat sink
    a metal conductor specially designed to conduct (and radiate) heat
    lightning conductor, lightning rod
    a metallic conductor that is attached to a high point and leads to the ground; protects the building from destruction by lightning
    semiconductor, semiconductor device, semiconductor unit
    a conductor made with semiconducting material
    bypass, electrical shunt, shunt
    a conductor having low resistance in parallel with another device to divert a fraction of the current
    wave guide, waveguide
    a hollow metal conductor that provides a path to guide microwaves; used in radar
    conducting wire, wire
    a metal conductor that carries electricity over a distance
    a positively charged electrode by which electrons leave an electrical device
    (electronics) the part of a transistor that separates the emitter from the collector
    a negatively charged electrode that is the source of electrons entering an electrical device
    chip, micro chip, microchip, microprocessor chip, silicon chip
    electronic equipment consisting of a small crystal of a silicon semiconductor fabricated to carry out a number of electronic functions in an integrated circuit
    coax, coax cable, coaxial cable
    a transmission line for high-frequency signals
    the electrode in a transistor through which a primary flow of carriers leaves the region between the electrodes
    crystal rectifier, diode, junction rectifier, semiconductor diode
    a semiconductor that consists of a p-n junction
    electrical cable
    a cable that provides an electrical connection for telephone or television or power stations
    electron gun
    the electrode that is the source of electrons in a cathode-ray tube or electron microscope; consists of a cathode that emits a stream of electrons and the electrostatic or electromagnetic apparatus that focuses it
    the electrode in a transistor where electrons originate
    extension cord
    an electric cord used to extend the length of a power cord
    fiber optic cable, fibre optic cable
    a cable made of optical fibers that can transmit large amounts of information at the speed of light
    a thin wire (usually tungsten) that is heated white hot by the passage of an electric current
    control grid, grid
    an electrode placed between the cathode and anode of a vacuum tube to control the flow of electrons through the tube
    booster cable, jumper cable, jumper lead, lead
    a jumper that consists of a short piece of wire
    wire connecting an antenna to a receiver or a transmitter to a transmission line
    n-type semiconductor
    a semiconductor in which electrical conduction is due chiefly to the movement of electrons
    a length of wire that has a plug at each end; used to make connections at a patchboard
    power cord
    a cord to conduct power to an electrical appliance
    power cable, power line
    cable used to distribute electricity
    printer cable
    a cable between a computer and a printer
    p-type semiconductor
    a semiconductor in which electrical conduction is due chiefly to the movement of positive holes
    telegraph line, telegraph wire, telephone line, telephone wire
    the wire that carries telegraph and telephone signals
    thermal resistor, thermistor
    a semiconductor device made of materials whose resistance varies as a function of temperature; can be used to compensate for temperature variation in other components of a circuit
    electronic transistor, junction transistor, transistor
    a semiconductor device capable of amplification
    type of:
    an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week