brown·​out | \ ˈbrau̇-ˌnau̇t How to pronounce brownout (audio) \

Definition of brownout

: a period of reduced voltage of electricity caused especially by high demand and resulting in reduced illumination

Examples of brownout in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The film is arch, but no triumph, an airless exercise in mistrusting its audience, and all of it is accompanied by pummeling music that sounds like a Vangelis wannabe recorded during a brownout. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘I Care a Lot’ Review: Guardian as Grifter," 18 Feb. 2021 Three months prior to the end of the war in Europe, cities in the U.S. were under a brownout order in which shop windows were dark and theater marquees and outdoor advertising signs were turned off. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "75 years ago: How Indiana observed V-E Day," 8 May 2020 The Australian energy industry hopes having good market data and access to renewables storage will mean smoothing out events like, for example, black- or brownouts caused by high-cost, high-demand summer heat. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Tesla's Virtual Power Plant Is Already a Success," 10 Apr. 2020 Fortunately, the information brownout in China was at this point beginning to show signs of cracking. Laurie Garrett, The New Republic, "How Trump and Xi set the stage for the coronavirus pandemic," 2 Apr. 2020 There's never been a year since 2012 when the city hasn't faced a deficit and there have been other budgetary priorities for the fire department, namely ending brownouts, the practice of not running all fire crews all the time to save money. Sharon Coolidge,, "Cincinnati's fire hydrants: If your house is burning, will the nearest hydrant help save it? No one really knows," 30 Jan. 2020 That could lead to possible blackouts or brownouts, said Ken Buell, the director of emergency response and recovery for the Department of Energy who is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on its earthquake response. New York Times, "With Earthquakes and Storms, Puerto Rico’s Power Grid Can’t Catch a Break," 10 Jan. 2020 Luckily, there was no talk of imminent blackouts or brownouts. Randy Diamond,, "Heat wave sets all-time record for CPS Energy usage," 14 Aug. 2019 When peak demand surges—most common during heat waves like the ones that struck the region in 2006 and 2011—the older, less efficient generating stations have a harder time keeping up, and brownouts or blackouts become more likely. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "City Dwellers Ignore Infrastructure at Their Peril," 15 July 2019

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

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First Known Use of brownout

1942, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for brownout

brown + blackout

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Time Traveler for brownout

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The first known use of brownout was in 1942

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Cite this Entry

“Brownout.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of brownout

chiefly US : a period when the amount of electricity in an area is reduced because there is not enough for everyone who needs it

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