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

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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

That said, New York is an extremely inhospitable place for electric scooters. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Unagi is the $1,190 electric scooter you won’t want to share with anyone," 17 Nov. 2018 Oakland, California, is just one of numerous American cities that have been transformed—for better or worse—by electric scooters. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Bay Area: How can we integrate e-scooters into our cities?," 7 Nov. 2018 Two weeks ago, the organization held a Future of Transportation showcase, featuring electric scooters, e-bikes, and other new technology, and will hold a transportation summit next year. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "As top innovation hub expands, can straining local infrastructure keep pace?," 6 Nov. 2018 As Vox’s Matthew Yglesias writes: the electric scooter works considerably better than a bicycle. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Elon Musk says electric scooters “lack dignity”," 2 Nov. 2018 Bird actually is an electric scooter company that allows people to rent scooters in various cities, like in Nashville, Tennessee, where Shawn is currently visiting. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Shawn Mendes Shows Off His Many Injuries on Instagram After Scary Fall Off a Scooter," 11 Sep. 2018 These electric scooters, which can go up to 15 mph, have proliferated in places across the country in recent months, often without warning to city officials who have grappled with how to regulate them. Fox News, "Southern Californians are tossing electric scooters into ocean, burning them: report," 13 Aug. 2018 Both San Francisco and Santa Monica are in the process of regulating electric scooters, with the former having banned such equipment until regulation passes. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Term Sheet -- Tuesday, July 10," 10 July 2018 The new cash will go toward buying tens of thousands of lightweight electric scooters. Eric Newcomer And Brad Stone, chicagotribune.com, "Uber will rent scooters through its app in partnership with Lime," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The new rules could increase sales of electrics in Europe from a minuscule 0.6 percent of the 14.5-million vehicle annual market to the high single digits over the next five or six years. David Mchugh, The Seattle Times, "Climate goals mean Europe will overtake U.S. in electric cars," 2 Oct. 2018 And there is nobody, other than perhaps President Trump, who motivates the conservative electric quite like President Obama. Fox News, "Pence on impact of anonymous NYT op-ed, Woodward's new book," 9 Sep. 2018 Trading his old truck for an electric-powered vehicle was an easy choice, the native Texan said. Chris Tomlinson, Houston Chronicle, "Texas rolls out cash incentives for electric cars," 31 May 2018 Revel co-founder Paul Suhey walked Eva Carbonell through the controls of an electric moped on Friday in Brooklyn. Lara Korte, WSJ, "Brooklyn Hipsters Can Now Hop On Ride-Sharing Mopeds," 29 July 2018 Yes, the vehicles tend to be more expensive because of the new technology, but EV buyers receive a $7,500 tax credit from the U.S. government for investing in an electric. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "The $7,500 Tax Credit for Buying a Tesla Is Going Away," 12 July 2018 The 18-year-old grew up 20 miles north of Oakland and has an electric, mid-90s fastball. Matt Breen, Philly.com, "Like Alec Bohm, Phillies think Notre Dame's Matt Vierling can move quick to majors," 5 June 2018 As a plug-in hybrid, the Clarity steps over the biggest impediment in consumers' minds about battery electrics: limited range. Jim Resnick, Ars Technica, "2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid: Put simply, it’s complicated," 19 Apr. 2018 There are only a few compact crossover plug-ins and electrics, including the BMW i3, Chevy Bolt EV, and the forthcoming Volvo XC40 PHEV. Robert Duffer, chicagotribune.com, "Considering a plug-in car? 2018 Kia Niro PHEV is a good starter," 18 Apr. 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

3 Dec 2018

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

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to enclose within walls

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