Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


adjective cur·rent \ˈkər-ənt, ˈkə-rənt\

Simple Definition of current

  • : happening or existing now : belonging to or existing in the present time

  • : aware of what is happening in a particular area of activity

Full Definition of current

  1. 1 a archaic :  running, flowing b (1) :  presently elapsing <the current year> (2) :  occurring in or existing at the present time <the current crisis> (3) :  most recent <the magazine's current issue>

  2. 2 :  used as a medium of exchange

  3. 3 :  generally accepted, used, practiced, or prevalent at the moment <current fashions>

cur·rent·ly adverb
cur·rent·ness noun

Examples of current

  1. The dictionary's current edition has 10,000 new words.

  2. Who is your current employer?

  3. We need to keep current with the latest information.

Origin of current

Middle English curraunt, from Anglo-French corant, present participle of cure, courre to run, from Latin currere — more at car

First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with current



noun cur·rent

Simple Definition of current

  • : a continuous movement of water or air in the same direction

  • : a flow of electricity

  • : an idea, feeling, opinion, etc., that is shared by many or most of the people in a group

Full Definition of current

  1. 1 a :  the part of a fluid body (as air or water) moving continuously in a certain direction b :  the swiftest part of a stream c :  a tidal or nontidal movement of lake or ocean water d :  flow marked by force or strength

  2. 2 a :  a tendency or course of events that is usually the result of an interplay of forces <currents of public opinion> b :  a prevailing mood :  strain

  3. 3 :  a flow of electric charge; also :  the rate of such flow

Examples of current

  1. Strong currents pulled the swimmer out to sea.

  2. Air currents carried the balloon for miles.

  3. The circuit supplies current to the saw.

14th Century

First Known Use of current

14th century

Synonym Discussion of current

tendency, trend, drift, tenor, current mean movement in a particular direction. tendency implies an inclination sometimes amounting to an impelling force <a general tendency toward inflation>. trend applies to the general direction maintained by a winding or irregular course <the long-term trend of the stock market is upward>. drift may apply to a tendency determined by external forces <the drift of the population away from large cities> or it may apply to an underlying or obscure trend of meaning or discourse <got the drift of her argument>. tenor stresses a clearly perceptible direction and a continuous, undeviating course <the tenor of the times>. current implies a clearly defined but not necessarily unalterable course <an encounter that changed the current of my life>.

Other Electrical Engineering Terms

Medical Dictionary


noun cur·rent \ˈkər-ənt, ˈkə-rənt\

Medical Definition of current

  1. 1:  the part of a fluid body (as air or water) moving continuously in a certain direction

  2. 2:  a flow of electric charge; also :  the rate of such flow

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up current? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 5, 2016

bread traditionally eaten on Shabbat

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

pince-nez kittly-benders spindrift duvet
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.