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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Actuator \Ac"tu*a`tor\, n. One who actuates, or puts into action. [R.]


n. 1 Something that actuates something else, especially a mechanism that causes a device to be switched on or off 2 (context computing English) The mechanism that moves the head assembly on a disk drive 3 (context electrical English) A relay that controls the flow of electricity


n. a mechanism that puts something into automatic action


An actuator is a component of machines that is responsible for moving or controlling a mechanism or system.

An actuator requires a control signal and source of energy. The control signal is relatively low energy and may be electric voltage or current, pneumatic or hydraulic pressure, or even human power. The supplied main energy source may be electric current, hydraulic fluid pressure, or pneumatic pressure. When the control signal is received, the actuator responds by converting the energy into mechanical motion.

An actuator is the mechanism by which a control system acts upon an environment. The control system can be simple (a fixed mechanical or electronic system), software-based (e.g. a printer driver, robot control system), a human, or any other input.

Usage examples of "actuator".

I could find to stick the gate actuator was inside a loo reserved for women and girls.

A green spot of light appeared on the actuator plate, though only George saw it.

George thrust his hand into the actuator hole, felt the metal plate and stepped forward into weightlessness.

The actuator is engaged by depressing the button built into the reverse of the pistol grip.

The room cleared except for Evan and Zane, as the crew went back to their duties, installing the new actuator and preparing for their bizarre errand.

Chandler finally pulled back and released the actuator of his M-16 to strip a cartridge off the magazine.

He slapped the base of the magazine and snapped back the actuator again.

Because the reduced-charge cartridges did not generate the force to cycle the action, he had to pull back the actuator to feed the next cartridge.

Amelia had raised up from her bed on the desk as George pushed into the office, carrying the box of gate actuators before him.

The sensitive wrist actuators ignored all movements except the one that indicated the gun should be un-holstered.

In the same motion, he flexed his wrist tendons, squeezing tightly so the actuators would be triggered even through the padding of the EVA suit.

A few months back I made a trade with a fella taking actuators to Threshold.

We got his name from a dealer on Carealis who said he might have some actuators we could trade for.

A sudden, startling white-light image showed living, breathing Siamese twins, impossibly transected to expose raw pink-and-gray muscles working side-by-side with shape-memory alloys and piezoelectric actuators, flesher and gleisner anatomies interpenetrating.

Inoshiro flexed vis facial actuators experimentally, shearing off mulch and grime.