/kath"ohd/, n.
1. the electrode or terminal by which current leaves an electrolytic cell, voltaic cell, battery, etc.
2. the positive terminal of a voltaic cell or battery.
3. the negative terminal, electrode, or element of an electron tube or electrolytic cell.
[1825-35; < Gk káthodos a way down, equiv. to kat- CAT- + hodós way]

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Terminal or electrode at which electrons enter a system, such as an electrolytic cell or an electron tube.

In a battery or other source of direct current, the cathode is the positive terminal. In a passive load it is the negative terminal. In an electron tube, such as a cathode-ray tube, electrons stream off the cathode and travel through the tube toward the anode.
(as used in expressions)
cathode ray oscilloscope
cathode ray tube

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      negative terminal or electrode through which electrons enter a direct current load, such as an electrolytic cell or an electron tube, and the positive terminal of a battery or other source of electrical energy through which they return. This terminal corresponds in electrochemistry to the terminal at which reduction occurs. Within a gas discharge tube, electrons travel away from the cathode, but positive ions (current carriers) travel toward the cathode. Compare anode.

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Universalium. 2010.

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