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 electric (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 electric (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 The pandemic has sparked a record run, with hot startups in areas such as electric vehicles and cannabis seeking to capitalize on investors’ burgeoning enthusiasm. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "2020 SPAC Boom Lifted Wall Street’s Biggest Banks," 5 Jan. 2021 Car manufacturers are investing more in electric vehicles, for example, and utilities are investing in renewable power sources. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "Scrub Hub: How can I be more environmentally-friendly in the new year?," 30 Dec. 2020 Massachusetts currently has about 30,000 electric vehicles on the roads, a number which may include hybrid vehicles, officials said. Naomi Martin, BostonGlobe.com, "Mass. to require all new cars sold to be electric by 2035 as part of climate-change measures," 30 Dec. 2020 At the same time, Hyundai in Montgomery is set to introduce the Santa Cruz crossover and the Tucson SUV into production, and Mercedes continues to prepare for the 2022 production launch of electric vehicles from its Tuscaloosa County plant. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, "What will Alabama’s economy look like in 2021?," 30 Dec. 2020 India has been courting electric vehicles, though, and carmakers see a lot of sales potential. Jill Disis And Swati Gupta, CNN, "Tesla will start selling cars in India next year, government says," 29 Dec. 2020 This prototype for the mobile charging robot is one of the concepts the Volkswagen Group is developing to help bring the charging infrastructure up to par with the number of electric vehicles the automaker is hoping to sell over the next few years. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "VW Previews Adorable EV-Charging Autonomous Robot," 28 Dec. 2020 Only a handful of major countries are pumping rescue funds into low-carbon efforts such as renewable power, electric vehicles and energy efficiency. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Dec. 10-16," 26 Dec. 2020 Chinese companies like Huawei and Xiaomi dominate the global smartphone market, and China has emerged as a global leader in e-commerce, electric vehicles, and digital payments. Naomi Xu Elegant, Fortune, "How anti-Beijing legislation became one of the few things Democrats and Republicans can agree on," 26 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The full winter protections for all residents apply only to gas and electric, the ICC said in the release. Elyse Kelly, Washington Examiner, "Some utility companies volunteer winter moratoriums on disconnections in Illinois," 30 Dec. 2020 While many models, both gas and electric, can set you back several hundred bucks, the snow gods have seriously slashed the price on one top-selling Snow Joe 21-inch option, taking it from $249 to just $129 at both Amazon and Walmart. Arielle Tschinkel, USA TODAY, "You can get this top-rated snow blower at a huge discount just in time for winter," 23 Dec. 2020 Now’s the time to shop for electric and kids scooters, bikes and more at up to 30 percent off on Amazon right now. NBC News, "Amazon Prime Day 2020: Best sales and deals to shop now," 14 Oct. 2020 Residents should expect to see many more of its cars out and about, including its next-generation electric Jaguar I-Paces as well as its existing Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Carolyn Said, SFChronicle.com, "Yes, you’re seeing more robot cars in San Francisco. Here’s why self-driving is picking up speed," 24 Oct. 2020 If the hydrogen trucking business proves not to be viable, Nikola might be able to fall back on selling battery-electric trucks. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Nikola has $900 million in the bank, lost $117 million last quarter," 9 Nov. 2020 Adam Jonas, an equity analyst at Morgan Stanley, wrote on Oct. 2 that while auto industry sales were down overall, battery-electric vehicle sales were climbing and still dominated by Tesla. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Ford plans to unveil all-electric Transit van as home deliveries skyrocket," 29 Oct. 2020 Patrol officers spotted Hylton riding a Revel electric moped on a sidewalk in the 500 block of Kennedy Street NW without a helmet around 10:10 p.m. on Friday, police said. Fox News, "DC police release bodycam footage of Karon Hylton’s fatal moped crash," 29 Oct. 2020 In September, California declared that all cars sold in the state must be zero-emission—primarily meaning electric—by 2035, which can be expected to expand the EV market substantially. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "The electric car frenzy is helping even troubled companies raise big money," 23 Oct. 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

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Electric.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/electric. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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 electric (audio) \

Medical Definition of electric

: of, relating to, or operated by electricity

Other Words from electric

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

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Comments on electric

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