A regulator is a device that maintains a certain state in a system or machine. Scuba divers use a special diving regulator that keeps the gas pressure steady so they can breathe while underwater.

The job of a regulator is to regulate, or control. In a mechanical sense, this means keeping things like power, pressure, speed, or temperature at a steady, regular level. If a person has the job title of regulator, they’re a government official who’s responsible for upholding standards (or regulations) meant to protect the public. A regulator might inspect food, for example, to make sure it’s safe to eat. The Latin root, regula, means "rule."

Definitions of regulator
  1. noun
    any of various controls or devices for regulating or controlling fluid flow, pressure, temperature, etc.
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    a device that controls amount of light admitted
    ball cock, ballcock
    floating ball that controls level in a water tank
    a regulator for controlling the flow of air in a fireplace
    faucet, spigot
    a regulator for controlling the flow of a liquid from a reservoir
    regulator that can be turned to regulate the pitch of the strings of a stringed instrument
    regulator consisting of a small cock or faucet or valve for letting out air or releasing compression or draining
    a regulator (as a sliding plate) for regulating the flow of air into a furnace or other heating device
    escape, escape cock, escape valve, relief valve, safety valve
    a valve in a container in which pressure can build up (as a steam boiler); it opens automatically when the pressure reaches a dangerous level
    floodgate, head gate, penstock, sluice valve, sluicegate, water gate
    regulator consisting of a valve or gate that controls the rate of water flow through a sluice
    thermoregulator, thermostat
    a regulator for automatically regulating temperature by starting or stopping the supply of heat
    a thermostat that operates at very low temperatures
    mixing faucet
    single faucet for separate hot and cold water pipes
    a thermostat that operates at very high temperatures
    cock, stopcock, turncock
    faucet consisting of a rotating device for regulating flow of a liquid
    hydrant, tap, water faucet, water tap
    a faucet for drawing water from a pipe or cask
    type of:
    control, controller
    a mechanism that controls the operation of a machine
  2. noun
    a control that maintains a steady speed in a machine (as by controlling the supply of fuel)
    synonyms: governor
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    regulator consisting of a heavy wheel that stores kinetic energy and smooths the operation of a reciprocating engine
    a regulator that activates or deactivates a mechanism at set times
    fluid flywheel
    a kind of fluid coupling in which the flywheel is the driving rotor
    type of:
    control, controller
    a mechanism that controls the operation of a machine
  3. noun
    an official responsible for control and supervision of a particular activity or area of public interest
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    type of:
    functionary, official
    a worker who holds or is invested with an office
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