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 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 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


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

Even an all-electric plane would only do so much to cut emissions. Washington Post, "Why Electric-Powered Airplanes Are Headed for Takeoff," 18 Sep. 2019 The company pledged to build a new all-electric pickup truck at a factory in Detroit, according to a person who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. CBS News, "UAW strike could cost GM up to $100 million per day," 17 Sep. 2019 Before the talks broke off, GM offered to build a new all-electric pickup truck at a factory in Detroit that is slated to close next year, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. chicagotribune.com, "More than 49,000 auto workers go on strike after talks with General Motors break down," 16 Sep. 2019 And while others were swooning over the new Land Rover, this little battery-electric car completely and utterly won my heart. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Dear Honda, this adorable electric car needs to come to the US," 16 Sep. 2019 The company pledged to build a new all-electric pickup truck at a factory in Detroit, according to a person who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. SFChronicle.com, "Strike idles more than 50 GM factories and warehouses," 16 Sep. 2019 Infiniti is getting plugged into electric with the QX Inspiration midsize crossover concept. Evelyn Kanter, Houston Chronicle, "Electric car market grows," 13 Sep. 2019 Byton M-Byte: The most eye-catching feature on this all-electric crossover is the 48-inch video instrument panel, but there are plenty of other reasons why the debut of the production version of the Byton M-Byte is grabbing so much attention. NBC News, "10 of the most powerful, expensive, exotic new cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show," 13 Sep. 2019 Both had been divorced at the time and weren’t looking for anything serious, but the chemistry was too electric to ignore. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Bridal Bliss: Candice and Hassan Looked Like Royalty At Their St. Lucia Wedding," 11 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But Buffs players and coach Mel Tucker dismissed the idea of an emotional letdown coming off an electric, crowd-storming 34-31 comeback victory over then-No. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "CU Buffs bit by Nebraska hangover, fall to Air Force in OT, 30-23," 14 Sep. 2019 Yola, who is black and British and grew up in London, is aware of her position at the forefront of this new country movement and has the electric, booming vocals to back it up. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Meet Yola, the Singer-Songwriter Giving Country a Soulful Spin," 4 Sep. 2019 There were always the choices: pay the rent or buy groceries; pay the electric or the heat bill in winter, pay for gas or be on time with the rent. Denise Coffey, courant.com, "Author Andre Dubus III Shares Stories At Quiet Corner Reads," 24 June 2019 In 2017, Ford CEO Jim Hackett, discussing his company’s plans to invest big in electrics, told investors that Ford could reduce time spent building EVs by 30 percent, compared with conventional vehicles, according to Reuters. Wired, "The Shift to Electric Vehicles Propels a Strike Against GM," 17 Sep. 2019 Henderson is a likely first-round draft pick who can shut down top receivers, while the electric Toney routinely makes something out of nothing. Kyle Wood, orlandosentinel.com, "Gators’ young defensive backs could give UF a boost at Kentucky," 12 Sep. 2019 An analysis by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management found that in 2017, various automakers including Chevrolet, Nissan, Ford, and Toyota spent five to 10 times more money promoting their gas-powered cars as their electrics. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Arnold Schwarzenegger Stars in a New Ad Plugging Electric Cars," 25 June 2019 The eAircraft business is based in Germany and Hungary, and employs around 180 specialist engineers who are developing electric and hybrid propulsion systems. Charles Riley, CNN, "Electric planes herald new era for aviation at the Paris Air Show," 20 June 2019 Sheriff Michael Chitwood urged residents to be vigilant about scammers pretending to work for roofing, electric and tree trimming companies who could take advantage of people, especially senior citizens. Gabrielle Russon, orlandosentinel.com, "Hurricane Dorian: Volusia County gets back to normal," 4 Sep. 2019

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

8 Oct 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 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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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

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to fake an opponent out of position

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