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 The lamps that laced every building and walkway produced the most elaborate demonstration of electric illumination ever attempted and the first large-scale test of alternating current. Cassie Werber, Quartz, 2 May 2023 The dizzying alternating current that defines a career in show business settled in to become the simple ebb and flow of our lives. Tony Goldwyn, Variety, 20 Oct. 2023 There are high voltage wiring systems, on-board chargers that convert alternating current power to direct current to charge the batteries. Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN, 6 Oct. 2023 After delivering direct currents, the researchers tested the dolphins’ ability to perceive alternating current (AC) electric fields. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Dec. 2023 But connecting your car’s battery (and its direct current) to your house (which runs on alternating current) involves some extra equipment. Jon Healey, Los Angeles Times, 7 Aug. 2023 As the pendulum swings back and forth with the animal’s movement, the ring creates an alternating current in the coil—and a voltage-doubling circuit transforms it into direct current. IEEE Spectrum, 1 Nov. 2023 The Folsom Powerhouse was the first power station to send three-phase (60 Hz), high-voltage alternating current using long-distance transmission lines (about 21 miles) to Sacramento. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, 8 June 2023 But what stands out most is its inverter technology, which converts AC (alternating current) power into DC (direct current) and back into clean and stable AC. Brandon Russell, Popular Mechanics, 17 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'alternating current.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1833, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of alternating current was in 1833

Dictionary Entries Near alternating current

Cite this Entry

“Alternating current.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

alternating current

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

More from Merriam-Webster on alternating current

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