Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Wikipedia.
Related to starter: kick starter, Starter pokemon


1. a device for starting an internal-combustion engine, usually consisting of a powerful electric motor that engages with the flywheel
2. US a person who organizes the timely departure of buses, trains, etc.
3. under starter's orders (of horses in a race) awaiting the start signal
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the main unit in the starting system of an engine. A starter increases the speed of rotation of the engine shaft until the starting speed is reached. The starter comprises a motor or engine, a reduction gear, devices for engaging with and disengaging from the shaft of the main engine, and a starting device for internal use (for starters that are not self-contained, for example, gasoline and turbine starters).

Starters are classified according to their principle of operation as inertia, direct-coupled, or combined-drive. In inertia starters, a flywheel is brought to a speed of rotation at which it possesses energy sufficient to rotate the shaft of the main engine upon engagement. Direct-coupled starters are linked directly to the shaft of the main engine. Starters can be of the electric, turbine, compressed-air, hydraulic, or gasoline type.

Electric starters are usually direct-current high-speed motors (up to 13,000 rpm). Starter-generators are also classified as electric starters. During cranking, these units work as starters, but once the engine is in operation they function as generators of electric power. In contrast to other types of starters, starter-generators remain engaged to the shaft of the main engine after the engine has started. The rated power of electric starters can be up to 25 kilowatts (kW), or 35 hp; the operating voltage ranges from 12 to 112 volts (V).

In turbine starters, a turbine is used as the motor. The turbine is rotated by air or by the gases obtained from the combustion of fuel. Depending on the type of feed, turbine starters are classified as compressed-air, combustible-mixture, solid-fuel, and liquid-fuel starters. In compressed-air starters, pressurized air rotates the turbine; the power rating can be as high as 110 kW (150 hp). Combustible-mixture starters, which can be of the gas-turbine or centrifugal-turbine type, are small gas-turbine engines capable of developing a power of up to 300 kW (400 hp). In combustible-mixture turbine starters without compressors, the compressed air for fuel combustion is supplied from cylinders. In solid-fuel turbine starters, which can be of the powder-squib or turbine type, the turbine is driven by the combustion products of a powder charge. In liquid-fuel turbine starters, the turbine is driven by the combustion (decomposition) products of a single-component liquid fuel. The power ratings of solid-fuel and liquid-fuel turbine starters are up to 300 kW (400 hp).

Hydraulic and compressed-air starters are usually pumps or compressors that operate as motors when fed by a liquid or highly pressurized air.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A device used to start an electric motor and to accelerate the motor to normal speed.
An auxiliary control electrode used in a gas tube to establish sufficient ionization to reduce the anode breakdown voltage. Also known as trigger electrode.
A drill used for making the upper part of a hole, the remainder of the hole being made with a drill of smaller gage, known as a follower.
A culture of microorganisms, either pure or mixed, used to commence a process, for example, cheese manufacture.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. A device used with a ballast to start an electric-discharge lamp.
2. An electric controller for starting an electric motor, for bringing it up to normal speed, and for stopping it.
3. One of a series of roofing shingles applied beneath the first course of shingles, with a slight overhang at the eaves.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A device which uses electrical, pneumatic or hydraulic energy to turn the engine fast enough for it to start and run normally.
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
References in periodicals archive ?
Summary: A new market study, titled "Discover Global Electric Starters Market Upcoming Trends, Growth Drivers and Challenges" has been featured on WiseGuyReports.
According to the study a key trend complementing the sales of starter feed is the rising demand for favorable alternatives to traditionally-used feedstock.
Cllr Brencher asked that if they had more starter flats.
Starter Homes aims to attract investors across the board from traditional funds, real estate funds, pension funds, venture capitalists all the way through to private individuals irrespective of their investment capacity in accordance with all legal requirements and regulatory requirements.
Troubleshooting revealed the starter and starter contactor were inoperative.
"Engines with very slow-turning Delco starters may be part of the problem and might benefit from a faster turn rate because there is prop momentum carrying it through when there is uneven cylinder firing at the beginning of a start sequence," he said.
The company said the partnership would increase the ability to capitalise on growing demand for eco-friendly technologies such as start-stop starters and boost recuperation machines that reduce carbon emissions.
A major limitation of the "Call of Duty: Black Ops III" multiplayer starter pack is the inability to "Prestige" once a character reaches level 55.
A few starters cannot reach the core, but instead proceed to enders, states that cannot be followed by any other state.
To help deliver these homes, the Prime Minister announced that private builders will be allowed to provide starter homes instead of traditional affordable housing to satisfy Section 106 planning requirements.
CDN DISPLAYS SHOWCASE THERMOMETERS AND TIMERS: CDN has launched two new Starter Kits that come preloaded with its most popular thermometers and timers.