hy·​dro·​elec·​tric | \ˌhī-drō-i-ˈlek-trik \

Definition of hydroelectric 

: of or relating to production of electricity by waterpower constructed a hydroelectric power plant at the dam site

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Other Words from hydroelectric

hydroelectrically \ ˌhī-​drō-​i-​ˈlek-​tri-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb
hydroelectricity \ ˌhī-​drō-​i-​ˌlek-​ˈtri-​sə-​tē , -​ˈtri-​stē \ noun

Did You Know?

The prime component of most hydroelectric systems is a dam. A high dam funnels water downward at high pressure to spin turbines, which in turn drive generators to produce high-voltage electricity. Mountainous countries with rushing rivers can produce the most hydroelectricity. Though hydroelectricity comes from a clean and completely renewable energy source, dams disrupt natural systems in a way that disturbs environmentalists.

Examples of hydroelectric in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Excluding hydroelectric power, renewable energy generates 2% of U.S. electricity. WSJ, "King Coal Has Had Its Day as Gas Triumphs," 21 Sep. 2018 As that trend continues, coal will go on to join the ranks of nuclear, wind and hydroelectric power as minor contributors. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "What happened to coal," 21 Aug. 2018 However, by late summer hydroelectric production is expected to be down by about 1,300 megawatts compared to 2017. Rob Nikolewski, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Heat wave puts Southern California power grid under pressure," 5 July 2018 These purchase agreements include generation from other hydroelectric facilities, plus projects like solar and wind farms. Heather Kennison, idahostatesman, "What's it like to rely on renewable energy? Look at life in Idaho.," 26 June 2018 Small towns with cheap hydroelectric or other forms of power around the United States have increasingly wrestled with miners who come into town and start asking for tens of megawatts of power, the equivalent of large-scale industrial operations. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "William Shatner Promotes Solar-Powered Cryptocoin Mining," 14 June 2018 The utilities commission provides electricity for city municipal buildings, most of it coming from hydroelectric powerhouses in the Hetchy Hetchy reservoir system. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, "San Francisco ban on flavored tobacco, education parcel tax ahead in early vote returns," 5 June 2018 Much of the Pacific Northwest's power is hydroelectric. Edward Stratton, The Christian Science Monitor, "Farmers reshape land along Columbia River to bring salmon back," 2 Apr. 2018 Honduras has seen repeated confrontations between members of indigenous groups and mining or hydroelectric operations. The New York Times, New York Times, "Honduras Police Arrest Executive in Killing of Berta Cáceres, Indigenous Activist," 3 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hydroelectric.' 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 hydroelectric

1884, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hydroelectric

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for hydroelectric

The first known use of hydroelectric was in 1884

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English Language Learners Definition of hydroelectric

: of or relating to the production of electricity by using machines that are powered by moving water


hy·​dro·​elec·​tric | \ˌhī-drō-i-ˈlek-trik \

Kids Definition of hydroelectric

: relating to or used in the making of electricity by waterpower hydroelectric power

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More from Merriam-Webster on hydroelectric

Spanish Central: Translation of hydroelectric

Nglish: Translation of hydroelectric for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hydroelectric for Arabic Speakers

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