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 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 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 first would center around its premium passenger car operations that are busy rolling out new electric vehicles such as the Mercedes EQS. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, "Chinese demand powers knockout Daimler profits as German auto stocks make a big comeback," 16 Apr. 2021 The Biden administration aims to accelerate a transition toward electric vehicles in the U.S., and has proposed $174 billion to help spur their uptake as part of the president’s infrastructure package. Ben Foldy, WSJ, "GM to Help Build $2.3 Billion Battery-Cell Plant in Tennessee," 16 Apr. 2021 Automakers have talked with the Biden Administration about infrastructure support, to transition the country to electric vehicles and get help restoring the supply of semiconductors. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Ford creates top role for ex-presidential candidate Jon Huntsman with $1M salary," 15 Apr. 2021 In February, Biden signed an executive order directing federal agencies to determine vulnerabilities in U.S. supply chains, including for critical minerals and for the batteries that power electric vehicles. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Republicans call on Biden to back quicker approval for critical minerals mines," 15 Apr. 2021 The push to build more electric vehicles to combat climate change rests on an inconvenient truth: The metals used in EV batteries are pretty dirty. Eric Niiler, Wired, "Will Future Electric Vehicles Be Powered by Deep-Sea Metals?," 14 Apr. 2021 The New Zealand government has taken a number of steps to reduce the country's emissions in recent months, including pledging to make its public sector carbon neutral by 2025 and requiring government agencies to purchase electric vehicles. Hanna Ziady, CNN, "New Zealand bill would require banks to disclose climate risks, in a world first," 13 Apr. 2021 Toyota has a lineup of electric vehicles coming under the BZ name, for Beyond Zero. Connor Hoffman, Car and Driver, "Toyota Teases New EV Crossover for BZ Electric Lineup," 12 Apr. 2021 Garcin said Michelin North America is an important part of the global company’s transition to components and systems for electric vehicles. Jim Henry, Forbes, "The Switch To Electric Vehicles Means Changing Tires, Too: Michelin," 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Were all vehicles battery-electric, the country would need 1.1 terawatts of batteries each year, requiring dozens more factories. Paul A. Eisenstein, NBC News, "Biden's infrastructure plan targets transportation — but could put auto jobs at risk," 2 Apr. 2021 Now, the priorities for Lexus—like those of most carmakers—are crossovers with silent battery-electric motors and artificial intelligence. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "Lexus LF-Z Concept Hints at Production EV for 2025," 30 Mar. 2021 More households are switching to induction cooking, which rivals gas and electric in both speed and efficiency, and can be more precise and consistent. Barbara Schmidt, Star Tribune, "Latest design trends focus on the heart of the home – kitchens," 24 Mar. 2021 Magna is expected to start building the Fisker Ocean electric SUV by the end of 2022. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "IPhone builder Foxconn is working on an electric car with Fisker," 24 Feb. 2021 Stripped down to a multiple-guitar rendition — two players on acoustic and one on electric backed up Strait, who himself strummed an acoustic — the tale of a restless singer was no less poignant than when Strait first recorded it 13 years ago. Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone, "George Strait Sings ‘Troubadour’ for Matthew McConaughey’s Texas Concert," 22 Mar. 2021 The initial aircraft, as AINOnline reported last year, will be a hybrid electric and biofuel aircraft. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Return of the Triplane Would Make the Red Baron Proud," 22 Mar. 2021 Xcel proposed the plan as arrearages for all Minnesota utilities — gas and electric — have been rising over the past year as COVID-19 has battered the economy. Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune, "Xcel customers who owe thousands to get help settling their debt," 11 Mar. 2021 The non-battery-electric pickup wars also seem poised to welcome a new competitor. Jonathon Ramsey, Car and Driver, "This Week in Cars: Grand Wagoneers, Civic, Maverick, and a Bronco Sport Comparison Test," 12 Mar. 2021

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

19 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

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

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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 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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