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 instrumentan 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 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

Adjective 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 installation may date back to the early days of the Rural Electrification Administration, which began in 1935 as a nationwide effort to bring electric power to the farthest-flung places. Ian Frazier, The New York Review of Books, "Rural America Could Stand Remembering," 3 Nov. 2020 For Tricoire, shifting from fossil fuels to electric power is a large part of the solution. Naomi Xu Elegant, Fortune, "How energy companies can combat climate change," 27 Oct. 2020 Its electric power carbon intensity is among the highest in the world, right behind China and India, according to BloombergNEF. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Japan net-zero emissions pledge would accelerate shift from post-Fukushima trend," 21 Oct. 2020 This allegedly included malware attacks against Ukraine's electric power grid, as well as efforts to disrupt France's 2017 elections and the 2018 Winter Olympics. TheWeek, "6 Russians charged over most 'destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group'," 20 Oct. 2020 The need to generate enormous additional amounts of electric power while at the same time protecting the environment is taking form as one of the major social and technological problems that our society must resolve over the next few decades. Dan Schlenoff, Scientific American, "50, 100 & 150 Years Ago: November 2020," 20 Oct. 2020 But emissions from the electric power sector, which has accounted for an impressive chunk of California’s reductions in the past, rose slightly. Chase Difeliciantonio, SFChronicle.com, "In worrying sign, California’s greenhouse gas emissions rise in latest tally," 19 Oct. 2020 The six defendants allegedly are behind the malware attacks on Ukraine's electric power grid in 2015 and 2016, as well as hack-and-leak efforts targeting the 2017 French elections and President Emmanuel Macron's political party. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "U.S. charges 6 Russian military officers for cyberattacks targeting 2018 Olympics, French elections," 19 Oct. 2020 In the Lake Charles area, there’s a significant number of petrochemical plants, refineries and electric power plants that might be interested in taking advantage of the sequestration project. Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com, "Lake Charles company to permanently store millions of tons of greenhouse gases 10,000 feet below ground," 18 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If the hydrogen trucking business proves not to be viable, Nikola might be able to fall back on selling battery-electric trucks. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Nikola has $900 million in the bank, lost $117 million last quarter," 9 Nov. 2020 Adam Jonas, an equity analyst at Morgan Stanley, wrote on Oct. 2 that while auto industry sales were down overall, battery-electric vehicle sales were climbing and still dominated by Tesla. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Ford plans to unveil all-electric Transit van as home deliveries skyrocket," 29 Oct. 2020 Patrol officers spotted Hylton riding a Revel electric moped on a sidewalk in the 500 block of Kennedy Street NW without a helmet around 10:10 p.m. on Friday, police said. Fox News, "DC police release bodycam footage of Karon Hylton’s fatal moped crash," 29 Oct. 2020 In September, California declared that all cars sold in the state must be zero-emission—primarily meaning electric—by 2035, which can be expected to expand the EV market substantially. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "The electric car frenzy is helping even troubled companies raise big money," 23 Oct. 2020 Plus, the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the state’s electric and gas power companies, may also weigh in on the agreement. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego receives at least one bid for city’s electric and gas franchise agreement," 23 Oct. 2020 But even more critical is their role in helping to finance the development of next-generation electric and self-driving cars. Keith Naughton, Bloomberg.com, "Detroit Automakers Face Delicate Dance With Red-State Supporters," 20 Oct. 2020 Highlights: Save up to 30 percent off on electric and kids scooters, bikes and more on Amazon right now. NBC News, "Amazon Prime Day 2020: Best sales and deals to shop now," 14 Oct. 2020 Vehicles, both gasoline and electric, are flammable. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Hyundai Kona Electric Recalled in South Korea and US over Potential Fire Danger," 8 Oct. 2020

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

Time Traveler for electric

Time Traveler

The first known use of electric was in 1646

See more words from the same year

Statistics for electric

Last Updated

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Electric.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/electric. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for electric


How to pronounce electric (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
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!