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From Middle English collectour, from Anglo-Norman collectour, from Late Latin collector, from Latin colligō (to gather together).



collector (plural collectors)

  1. A person who or thing that collects, or which creates or manages a collection.
    He is an avid collector of nineteenth-century postage stamps.
    That old piano is just a big dust collector.
    • 1941 January, “Railway Literature”, in Railway Magazine, page 48:
      The Young Collector's Handbook. By E. C. R. Hadfield and C. Hamilton Ellis. London: Oxford University Press, Amen House, E.C.4. 7½ in. × 5 in. × 1 in. 78 pp. Illustrated. Price 4s. 6d. net.—Most persons are collectors at some periods of their lives. Some outgrow the habit; with others it becomes a mania; and with still others it is a lasting habit intelligently planned as one aspect of a study of a particular subject.
    • 2012 April 26, Tasha Robinson, “Film: Reviews: The Pirates! Band Of Misfits”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      Hungry for fame and the approval of rare-animal collector Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton), Darwin deceives the Captain and his crew into believing they can get enough booty to win the pirate competition by entering Polly in a science fair. So the pirates journey to London in cheerful, blinkered defiance of the Queen, a hotheaded schemer whose royal crest reads simply “I hate pirates.”
  2. A person who is employed to collect payments.
    She works for the government as a tax collector.
    • 1668 July 3rd, James Dalrymple, “Thomas Rue contra Andrew Houſtoun” in The Deciſions of the Lords of Council & Seſſion I (Edinburgh, 1683), page 547
      Andrew Houſtoun and Adam Muſhet, being Tackſmen of the Excize, did Imploy Thomas Rue to be their Collector, and gave him a Sallary of 30. pound Sterling for a year.
    • 2010, “Telephone”, performed by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé:
      I should've left my phone at home 'cause this is a disaster / Callin' like a collector / Sorry, I cannot answer
    1. A mafioso whose task is to collect protection money from small businesses
  3. (electronics) The amplified terminal on a bipolar junction transistor.
  4. A compiler of books; one who collects scattered passages and puts them together in one book.
    • 1705, J[oseph] Addison, Remarks on Several Parts of Italy, &c. in the Years 1701, 1702, 1703, London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC:
      Volumes [] without any of tthe collector's own reflections.
  5. (historical) One holding a Bachelor of Arts in Oxford, formerly appointed to superintend some scholastic proceedings in Lent.
    • 1655, Anthony Wood, diaries:
      Whereupon he soon after appointed A. W. his collector in Austins; which office he kept till he was admitted Mr. of arts
  6. A major sewer which collects sewerage from a number of smaller branch sewers

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