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

3a : electronic sense 3a

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The backyard is lined with electric fencing, surrounded by trees. Maytal Levi, Cincinnati.com, "Woman claims coyote attacked her puppy in Anderson Township," 12 July 2018 Houses equipped with Tesla Solar Roof would feed energy to Powerwall, a sleek storage unit designed to act as an electricity fill-up station for both the house and a Tesla electric car. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Burning for Tesla Powerwall? Get ready to wait as Musk's solar vision takes a backseat to Model 3," 13 July 2018 Tesla has had to raise the price of its electric cars in China to offset the cost of the government’s retaliatory tariffs on American vehicles. The Economist, "Business this week," 12 July 2018 The clock is officially ticking for Tesla buyers in the US to receive the full $7,500 federal tax credit for electric cars. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla will be the first automaker to lose the federal tax credit for electric cars," 12 July 2018 Macher quickly moved from chairman to CEO and, in the next few years, CSP became the supplier of component parts for the Chevrolet Volt, a breakthrough electric car. Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "Rick Scott and family made $550M in one transaction. How 'blind' is his blind trust?," 11 July 2018 Apple's self-driving program has been the stuff of rumor for years, ranging from an electric car to not building a car at all, and just focusing on software. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Ex-Apple Employee Charged With Stealing Self-Driving Tech," 11 July 2018 More than ten new electric cars are set to go into series production at Mercedes-Benz Cars by 2022, from the smart to the large SUV. Jane Stueckemann, Houston Chronicle, "Cy-Fair group helps make public speaking a passion for its members," 10 July 2018 The White House has complained that China has used predatory practices in a relentless push to grant Chinese companies an unfair advantage in the industries of the future, including robotics, electric cars and biopharmaceuticals. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "US to impose new tariffs on additional $200B worth of Chinese imports," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The battery pack under the floor provides a low center of gravity common to such electrics, even though the Cross Turismo rides a touch high, in proper crossover fashion. Tom Voelk, New York Times, "Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo Review: ‘Silence Is the New Power’," 6 June 2018 Realistically, plug-in hybrids are yet another transitional moment on the path to full electrics, just as hybrids have been. Jim Resnick, Ars Technica, "Review: Toyota’s new Prius Prime needs more battery," 24 Jan. 2018 His 2015 Clean Power Plan was designed to reduce CO2 emissions from the electric-power sector by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030, notably through greater dependence on wind and solar. George Melloan, WSJ, "Pruitt Leaves a Proud Legacy at the EPA," 11 July 2018 Jump has 250 neon-red electric powered bikes scattered across the city today. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Uber acquires dockless bike-share startup Jump," 9 Apr. 2018 The Public Utility Commission regulates the state's electric, telecommunication, water and sewer utilities. L.m. Sixel, Houston Chronicle, "ERCOT spokeswoman named to PUC commission," 11 June 2018 The Model X electric, sport-utility vehicle accelerated in the final seconds to about 71 miles an hour before the March 23 crash in Mountain View, Calif., according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board. Mike Spector, WSJ, "Tesla Autopilot System Warned Driver to Put Hands on Wheel, U.S. Investigators Say," 7 June 2018 Those are pretty standard tricks in today’s hybrids and pure electrics, but the Porsche also peeks into the navigation system to further fine-tune where and how to modulate the power, particularly through the new Hybrid Auto mode. Eric Adams, WIRED, "Porsche's New Cayenne Hybrid Checks Your Route to Pick its Power," 23 May 2018 Hydro, electric, and wind are all obvious choices, but solar and fusion tech may prove the most promising. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "The Future Machines of the Year 2100," 16 Feb. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about electric

Phrases Related to electric

electric fence

electrical engineering

Statistics for electric

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for electric

The first known use of electric was in 1646

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!