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

Solar-power producers nationwide sell output at above-market prices to electric companies, which pass their costs onto consumers. River Davis, WSJ, "A Fukushima Ghost Town Seeks Rebirth Through Renewable Energy," 12 July 2019 As of right now, the electric blue hedgehog was given human-like teeth—something fans felt was unrealistic. Ale Russian, PEOPLE.com, "Sonic the Hedgehog Has Been Redesigned For New Movie — and Producer Thinks Fans Will Be Happy," 12 July 2019 The two companies announced plans in January to collaborate on developing commercial vans and medium-sized pickup trucks while exploring electric and autonomous vehicles together. Tom Krisher, chicagotribune.com, "Volkswagen to invest $2.6 billion in Ford robocar firm as part of electric vehicle tie-up," 12 July 2019 City News Service—San Diego Gas & Electric said that more than 21,000 customers in San Diego and Southern Orange counties will receive a one-time $850 credit later this year for driving an electric vehicle. Ramona Sentinel, "SDG&E to credit electric vehicle drivers $850," 11 July 2019 Even if electric-vehicle-battery costs came way down, such cars are likely to represent no more than sixteen per cent of sales by 2025. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "The Case for Declaring a National Climate Emergency," 11 July 2019 An electric Dewalt sawzall power tool valued at $50 was taken. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "After a string of car break-ins and thefts, Wauwatosa police warn residents to lock their cars," 10 July 2019 The change will affect only its electric rates, Tri-State said in a statement. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "Tri-State board votes to seek federal oversight, bucking calls by Colorado lawmakers to hold off," 10 July 2019 Slightly Stoopid, who are hosting the event, will play two nights at On the Water with an electric set on Saturday and a rare acoustic set on Sunday. Taylor Mims, Billboard, "Slightly Stoopid, Dirty Heads and 311 Announced for Debut On the Water Festival," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

After cabling is complete, the underground electric will be energized and properties along the road will be switched from overhead to underground service. Steve Dreyer, Pomerado News, "Digging to resume along Espola Road," 25 June 2019 The government sees electrics as a way for Chinese automakers to gain a foothold in developed markets. Echo Huang, Quartz, "This could be the first Chinese-brand electric car sold in Europe," 1 June 2019 Conceived and designed over two years by tech and space entrepreneur Matt Pearson, the electric powered Airspeeder will participate in a competitive racing league. Ben Morse, CNN, "Airspeeder: Motor racing series aims to be the Formula One of the skies," 26 June 2019 The Army has 158 installations worldwide; more than 132,000 miles of infrastructure for electric, gas, sewer and water; and over one billion square feet of office space. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al.com, "Army Birthday 244th birthday 2019: Military facts, figures, history and more," 14 June 2019 Diesel Pulled a Fast One Even mild rail enthusiasts know that steam engines were being supplanted by diesel-electrics as early as the 1940s. Tom Bentley, Popular Mechanics, "Why the Big Boy 4014 is Such a Badass Train," 13 June 2019 Going electric is an expensive business, and automakers are having to collaborate in order to keep costs down. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Why We Need to Retrain the C-Suite: CEO Daily," 5 June 2019 But $1,200 for a light-laden electric table will probably turn off all but the most deep-pocketed RGB enthusiasts, especially since Thermaltake’s page doesn’t mention free shipping for this beast. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Thermaltake reveals a monstrous, RGB-laden $1,200 motorized desk for gamers," 10 May 2019 Volvo's intention is for all future models, short of plug-in hybrids and full electrics, to feature this form of hybridization. Jens Meiners, Car and Driver, "Volvo to Start Using Electrically Driven Superchargers," 17 May 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

16 Jul 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

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