elec·​tric | \ i-ˈlek-trik , ē-\

Definition of electric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 or electrical \ i-​ˈlek-​tri-​kəl , 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 instrument an 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 , 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


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

Panorama is offering reduced rents to tenants without cars, as well as charging stations for those who drive electric cars. David Lyons, Sun-Sentinel.com, "At 85 stories, Miami's Panorama Tower offers tenants stunning views, lofty monthly rents," 2 July 2018 SUBSCRIBE TODAY Edwards created the farting unicorn - whose wind supplies power to an electric car - in 2010, according to MarketWatch. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Elon Musk accused of stealing farting unicorn artwork after artist raises a stink," 29 June 2018 If and when that happens, sales of electric cars, or other forms of transportation will take off. Ed Wallace, star-telegram, "Little Shared Vehicles," 29 June 2018 Advocates of electric cars want to tear down barriers that make the vehicles less accessible to some drivers — including those in communities hit hardest by air pollution. Maxine Joselow, Scientific American, "Electric Car Advocates Want to Expand Access to Low-Income Communities," 20 June 2018 The Postal Service’s enthusiasm for electric vehicles has often outstripped the support of the vehicle-makers themselves. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "12 Geeky Ways to Deliver Mail: U.S. Postal Service Technology Through the Ages," 18 Jan. 2019 Tesla sold its 200,000th electric vehicle in Q2 2018, leaving the company with two remaining quarters to sell vehicles that would receive the full tax credit. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Report: Tesla has more than 3,300 Model 3s remaining in US inventory," 31 Dec. 2018 The first floor features a large, four-car industrial level workshop—with electric vehicle charging—while the upper floors house the living spaces. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 5 best shipping container houses of 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 Autonomous, electric vehicles could be lowered into the system on wall-less elevators the size of two cars or spiral ramps. Amanda Lee Myers, The Seattle Times, "Elon Musk’s new tunnel ‘a little rough around the edges’," 19 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Last Friday’s storm downed trees along the electric-powered rail line between Washington and Boston on Friday, causing service disruptions and cancellations. Washington Post, "Flights, trains canceled as big winter storm hit the Northeast on Wednesday," 7 Mar. 2018 Brightline's diesel-electric powered trains feature a variety of amenities, including retractable platforms that facilitate easy boarding, bike racks, wide aisles and free wireless Internet. USA TODAY, "Brightline to begin higher-speed passenger-rail service in South Florida Saturday," 11 Jan. 2018 Of the 450,000 cars BYD sold in 2009, only a few hundred were electrics. David Kiley, Popular Mechanics, "China Hopes to Build EVs For the U.S., But How Close Is It?," 12 Jan. 2010 And showing an electric that can best old-fashioned engines in one of the world’s most challenging races doesn’t hurt either. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "VW's Electrifying Bid to Dominate a Mountain Race," 22 June 2018 Place potatoes in an electric mixing bowl with a paddle. Country Living, "Mom Pan's Creamy Mashed Potatoes," 28 Sep. 2010 Needless to say, this electric Silver Arrow pays no heed to practical considerations. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Mercedes’ EQ Silver Arrow blends classic design with electric superpowers," 3 Oct. 2018 The electrics venture with BMW is an important boost for Great Wall, which industry analysts warned would struggle to satisfy Beijing's sales quotas due to its fuel-guzzling vehicle lineup and had yet to announce any significant electric plans. Joe Mcdonald, USA TODAY, "BMW group and Great Wall Motors partner to make electric MINIs in China," 10 July 2018 That brings fuel-cell vehicles in line with battery electrics running off grid power, as California’s grid is mandated to be 33 percent renewable by 2020. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Where Are All the Hydrogen Cars?," 10 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for electric

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for electric

The first known use of electric was in 1646

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More Definitions for electric



English Language Learners Definition of electric

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


elec·​tric | \ i-ˈlek-trik \

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 \
variants: or electrical \ -​tri-​kəl \

Medical Definition of electric

: of, relating to, or operated by electricity

Other Words from electric

electrically \ -​tri-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on electric

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for electric

Spanish Central: Translation of electric

Nglish: Translation of electric for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of electric for Arabic Speakers

Comments on electric

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


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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