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

Aliza Landes, who works at cryptocurrency company Celsius Network, with her electric scooter. Felicia Schwartz, WSJ, "What’s the Hot Device in Startup Nation? The Fax Machine," 21 Feb. 2019 Like a Model 3 Performance, the Polestar 2 uses dual electric motors and all-wheel-drive. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Polestar 2 Is the First Car to Directly Challenge the Tesla Model 3," 27 Feb. 2019 An employee builds part of the new electric motor by French car maker Renault in Cleon, Western France. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Copper Edges Higher as Analysts Weigh Trade Talks," 14 Feb. 2019 The electric motors—the two in the back are 36hp (27kW) each, and the one that's built into the transmission cranks out 47hp (35Nm)—provide the additional horsepower and instant torque. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Love the hardware, hate the UI: The Acura MDX Sport Hybrid," 13 Dec. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The ebony fingerboard has more brightness and snap than the rosewood used on most Fender electrics. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "Fender's 'Acoustasonic' Is a True Acoustic-Electric Hybrid Guitar," 22 Jan. 2019 The Acoustasonic is built from tonewoods found on acoustics rather than the woods Fender uses for its electrics. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "Fender's 'Acoustasonic' Is a True Acoustic-Electric Hybrid Guitar," 22 Jan. 2019 Some thoughts on Lime’s e-bikes: The Lime-E electric-assist bikes are relatively heavier compared to a pedal Lime bike. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "How autonomous vehicle planner Yes Segura gets around Seattle," 26 July 2018 Last month, Uber acquired the bike-share company JUMP, which offers bright-red electric bikes. Michelle Baruchman, The Seattle Times, "ReachNow launches ride-hailing app that competes with Uber, Lyft," 17 July 2018 But what about a living heart’s lubdub suggests electric saw? Daisy Fried, New York Times, "Sex, Death, Suffering and Surrealism, in New Books of Poetry," 6 July 2018 Tesla’s all-out push to build 5,000 of its new Model 3 electric sedans in a week by the end of June — which even included assembling cars inside a vast tent behind the company’s Fremont factory — may have paid off. David R. Baker, SFChronicle.com, "Elon Musk hints Tesla may have finally hit Model 3 target," 1 July 2018 Imagine 20 years from now that North Korea had as much electric lights at night as South Korea. Fox News, "Hannity: Another stinging setback for the special counsel," 17 May 2018 Gadgets More people are using bikes for transportation and electric bikes can make the trip a lot easier. Clive Thompson, WIRED, "The Vehicle of the Future Has Two Wheels, Handlebars, and Is a Bike," 13 May 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

9 Apr 2019

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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

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marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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