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2 definitions found
 for circuit breaker
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  circuit breaker \cir"cuit break"er\, n. (Elec.)
     A device contained within an electrical circuit designed to
     interrupt the circuit when the current exceeds a preset
     value; it is sometimes called a contact breaker. Its
     function is to prevent fire or damage to the circuit or the
     devices on the circuit which could be caused by excess
     current, such as that caused by a short-circuit. It differs
     from a fuse in not having a conducting element which melts
     (see 2nd fuse, n.). Circuit breakers are designed to be
     easily reset, i. e. to reclose the circuit after it has been
     opened by the circuit breaker; this is usually accomplished
     by simply moving a switch back and forth. They are commonly
     used in buildings to protect individual electrical lines, and
     are often contained in groups within a box called a circuit
     breaker panel, which divides the current from a main
     electrical line into multiple circuits each protected by a
     separate circuit breaker. Less commonly they may be found on
     individual devices.
     [PJC]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  circuit breaker
      n 1: a device that trips like a switch and opens the circuit
           when overloaded [syn: circuit breaker, breaker]

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