elec·​tric | \ i-ˈlek-trik How to pronounce electric (audio) , ē- \

Definition of electric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 or electrical \ i-​ˈlek-​tri-​kəl How to pronounce electrical (audio) , ē-​ \ : of, relating to, or operated by electricity an electric current an electric heater
2 : exciting as if by electric shock an electric performance an electric personality also : charged with strong emotion the room was electric with tension
b : amplifying sound by electronic means used of a musical instrumentan electric guitar
4 : very bright electric blue electric orange



Definition of electric (Entry 2 of 2)

1 archaic : a nonconductor of electricity used to excite or accumulate electricity
2 : something (such as a light, automobile, or train) operated by electricity

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Other Words from electric


electrically \ i-​ˈlek-​tri-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce electrically (audio) , ē-​ \ adverb

Did You Know?

The word electric is derived from the Greek word for amber, elektron. It is only in modern times that practical use has been made of electricity, but some electrical phenomena have been known since antiquity. Certain philosophers of ancient Greece found that by rubbing amber with a piece of cloth, they could enable the amber to pick up light objects, such as feathers. In the 17th century, students of natural science began to discover that other natural phenomena were related to the effect of friction on amber.

Examples of electric in a Sentence

Adjective The device administers a mild electric shock. It plugs into any electric socket. The electrical cord is damaged. There's a problem with the building's electrical wiring. The pianist gave an electric performance. The atmosphere in the room was electric.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Trump attacked Biden's $2 trillion climate plan, which would strive to make the electric grid carbon free by 2035, and for investing heavily in renewable energy, which Trump said was unreliable, expensive and would cost energy industry jobs. Scott Waldman, Scientific American, "Climate Portion of Final Trump-Biden Debate Revolved Around Ending Oil, Wind 'Fumes'," 23 Oct. 2020 Transforming the electric grid would be both costly and complicated and analysts caution against taking the plan too literally. Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg.com, "Biden Won’t Ban Fracking, But His Clean Grid Would Choke Gas," 17 Oct. 2020 In August, Biden unveiled his $2 trillion plan to tackle climate change, targeting a carbon neutral electric grid by 2035, the development of a decarbonized transport sector, and massive investment in new green tech and clean energy. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "The U.S. 2020 election will be the ‘most impactful’ event for ESG investment this year," 15 Oct. 2020 At the end of last year, Vistra provided electricity to about 31% of residential customers in ERCOT, the electric grid serving most of Texas. Dallas News, "More work from home and more office space? How Vistra Corp. sees the post-pandemic workplace," 15 Oct. 2020 Hochschild and the outgoing and incoming CEOs of the California Independent System Operator, the private non-profit that manages the electric grid for about 80 percent of the state. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Sacramento lawmakers question California energy officials about August blackouts," 13 Oct. 2020 Big power utilities, too, would have trouble objecting to a modernizing of the electric grid. Matt Simon, Wired, "Could Biden Rebuild the Economy by Funding Green Energy?," 8 Oct. 2020 The infrastructure proposals include rebuilding the country’s electric grid, and roads and bridges. Timothy Puko, WSJ, "Where Trump and Biden Stand on Climate and Energy Policy," 4 Oct. 2020 Infrastructure investments will be essential as California tries to move toward an entirely carbon-free electric grid, experts say. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "California can fix its wildfire crisis — if politics don’t get in the way," 2 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But even more critical is their role in helping to finance the development of next-generation electric and self-driving cars. Keith Naughton, Bloomberg.com, "Detroit Automakers Face Delicate Dance With Red-State Supporters," 20 Oct. 2020 Highlights: Save up to 30 percent off on electric and kids scooters, bikes and more on Amazon right now. NBC News, "Amazon Prime Day 2020: Best sales and deals to shop now," 14 Oct. 2020 Vehicles, both gasoline and electric, are flammable. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Hyundai Kona Electric Recalled in South Korea and US over Potential Fire Danger," 8 Oct. 2020 The final terms of the agreement set the franchise fees for electric and gas at 3 percent. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego wants at least $80 million for its electric and gas franchise agreement," 23 Sep. 2020 Cars from the 1960′s, including a 1960 Ford Country Squire station wagon, to a 2020 Porsche Taycan electric, were on display for car enthusiasts to enjoy. David Petkiewicz, cleveland, "Classic and exotic cars at Crocker Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon (photos)," 20 Sep. 2020 But unlike that car, the MC20 won't be restricted to a mere 50 units but will be a regular production model, with a number of different variants that in time will even include a battery-electric option. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Maserati’s new MC20 supercar uses F1 engine efficiency technology," 10 Sep. 2020 Renault already produces medium-duty battery-electric trucks in Europe. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "An electric revolution is coming for American trucking," 10 Aug. 2020 The electric can opener is a savior for those of us with slippery, arthritic, or just plain tired hands. Popular Science, "The best can openers for convenient cooking," 3 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'electric.' 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 electric


1722, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for electric


New Latin electricus produced from amber by friction, electric, from Medieval Latin, of amber, from Latin electrum amber, electrum, from Greek ēlektron; akin to Greek ēlektōr beaming sun

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Time Traveler for electric

Time Traveler

The first known use of electric was in 1646

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Statistics for electric

Last Updated

27 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Electric.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/electric. Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for electric


How to pronounce electric (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of electric

: of or relating to electricity
: operated by electricity
: providing electricity


elec·​tric | \ i-ˈlek-trik How to pronounce electric (audio) \

Kids Definition of electric

1 or electrical\ -​tri-​kəl \ : of or relating to electricity or its use an electric current electrical engineering
2 : heated, moved, made, or run by electricity an electric heater an electric locomotive
3 : giving off sounds through an electronic amplifier an electric guitar
4 : having a thrilling effect The singer gave an electric performance.

Other Words from electric

electrically adverb electrically powered cars


elec·​tric | \ i-ˈlek-trik How to pronounce electric (audio) \
variants: or electrical \ -​tri-​kəl How to pronounce electrical (audio) \

Medical Definition of electric

: of, relating to, or operated by electricity

Other Words from electric

electrically \ -​tri-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce electrically (audio) \ adverb

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Comments on electric

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