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

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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

Tahoe says this ignored a precedent set by the Constitutional Court only months before in a similar case involving a hydroelectric project. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Why Central America Stays Poor," 7 Oct. 2018 Two of the accused worked at one time for Desarrollos Energeticos SA, the company behind the hydroelectric project that Caceres and her group Copinh had battled against for years. Fox News, "Trial for murder of Honduran environmental activist delayed," 18 Sep. 2018 That improvement followed an outcry over the 2016 slaying of Berta Caceres, a winner of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for defending her Lenca indigenous people’s lands from a hydroelectric project. Sarah Dilorenzo, The Seattle Times, "Group: Land activist murders keep rising, 2017 deadliest yet," 23 July 2018 Seko said utilities were planning to start up several other thermal and hydroelectric plants to provide at least some power. Fox News, "At least 7 dead, dozens feared buried after quake hits northern Japan," 2 Oct. 2018 Floating solar and hydroelectric dams actually work in a pretty nice symbiosis. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Floating solar is more than panels on a platform—it’s hydroelectric’s symbiont," 3 Nov. 2018 By 1939, the Hoover Dam become the most powerful hydroelectric dam in the world. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Hoover Dam Changed America—And It Might Do It Again," 27 July 2018 More than 6,600 people are homeless after a hydroelectric dam collapsed in the Attapeu province of Laos on July 23, according to the BBC. Kaylen Ralph, Teen Vogue, "A Dam in Laos Collapsed, Leaving Hundreds of People Missing and Thousands More Homeless," 24 July 2018 The Indian government is taking tribal land from the Adivasi communities to build hydroelectric dams. Seema Yasmin, SELF, "In Rural India, Protecting Women From Witch Hunting, and an Impending Flood," 17 Aug. 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

8 Feb 2019

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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

technical : 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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