alternating current

noun

Definition of alternating current

: an electric current that reverses its direction at regularly recurring intervals abbreviation AC

Examples of alternating current in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In one membrane, the wire had an alternating current applied to periodically heat it. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Edge on cooling from nanostructure beats physical limit," 11 Sep. 2018 Financial naiveté: The industrialist George Westinghouse financed the building of Tesla’s motor and alternating current system, buying Tesla’s patents in exchange for a lucrative royalty agreement. John F. Wasik, WSJ, "Lessons From Tesla (the Man, Not the Car)," 14 Sep. 2018 As demand increases, the line frequency of the electrical grid—the oscillation of alternating current over the wire—decreases. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Just say no: Wi-Fi-enabled appliance botnet could bring power grid to its knees," 17 Aug. 2018 The night before the event, the organizers realized that the hotel's electric supply was direct current and the ranges required alternating current. Judy Buchenot, Naperville Sun, "Suburban Cooks: Mints go from trash to treasured cookies," 13 July 2018 George Westinghouse was mainly responsible for the U.S.’s adoption of electric power transmission using the alternating current. Thomas Gryta, WSJ, "Why Thomas Edison Would Not Be Happy About GE’s Latest Deal," 23 May 2018 During the night, workers cut a hole in the hotel's wall, dropped a cable four stories to the street below and then pulled the cable through a manhole to the New York Central Railway, which used alternating current. Judy Buchenot, Naperville Sun, "Suburban Cooks: Mints go from trash to treasured cookies," 13 July 2018 One pair emits a high-frequency alternating current, which measures the coin's surface characteristics—for example, a stamping of Washington or Jefferson. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Things Come Apart: A Pay Phone," 27 Nov. 2015 The device is subject to high internal temperatures that can damage transistors that convert lower-voltage direct current from the battery to higher-voltage alternating current for the motor. Ralph Vartabedian, latimes.com, "Electrical defects cause Priuses to stall; Toyota may be bracing for a legal fight as safety worries grow," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alternating current.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of alternating current

1833, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about alternating current

Share alternating current

Statistics for alternating current

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alternating current

The first known use of alternating current was in 1833

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for alternating current

alternating current

noun

English Language Learners Definition of alternating current

: an electric current that changes its direction very frequently at regular intervals

alternating current

noun

Kids Definition of alternating current

: an electric current that reverses its direction of flow regularly many times per second

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on alternating current

Spanish Central: Translation of alternating current

Nglish: Translation of alternating current for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about alternating current

Comments on alternating current

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a servile follower or underling

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!