short-cir·​cuit | \ ˈshȯrt-ˈsər-kət How to pronounce short-circuit (audio) \
short-circuited; short-circuiting; short-circuits

Definition of short-circuit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to apply a short circuit to or establish a short circuit in

intransitive verb

: to become shunted by a short circuit The radio short-circuited.

short circuit


Definition of short circuit (Entry 2 of 2)

: a connection of comparatively low resistance accidentally or intentionally made between points on a circuit between which the resistance is normally much greater

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Examples of short-circuit in a Sentence

Noun The fire was caused by a short circuit.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The company says corrosion can cause a short circuit in defective anti-lock brake circuit boards that can cause a fire even if engines are off. Tom Krisher, Star Tribune, "Hyundai warns owners to park outside, recalls 180,000 SUVs," 11 Sep. 2020 The report also criticizes what the environmental organizations say is a push by the industry to advance renewable natural gas and laws and ballot measures as a way to short circuit the use of electricity to power buildings. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "Natural gas as clean energy choice, efforts to short circuit electrifying buildings criticized by new report," 14 July 2020 The possibility of a short circuit in the capsule further threatened the crew’s chances of returning safely to Earth. Alice George, Smithsonian Magazine, "Fifty Years Ago, the Crew of the Damaged Apollo 13 Came Home," 8 Apr. 2020 The fire was caused by short circuit, New Delhi Television reported. Washington Post, "Live updates: Trump says he may act alone if Congress can’t reach deal on new coronavirus stimulus package," 6 Aug. 2020 But the good news for public health is that there are ways to short circuit these psychological processes and shift culture to broaden support for prevention. Nat Kendall-taylor, STAT, "Why were we so late responding to Covid-19? Blame it on our culture and brains," 6 July 2020 Unless those massive bullets are delivered directly into or near enough to a large anima’s central nervous system to short circuit the electricity, Black Death is going to keep on coming. Ron Spomer, Outdoor Life, "There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Stopping Rifle’," 3 July 2020 Last month, a fire believed to be caused by an electrical short circuit engulfed a building in New Delhi, killing at least 43 people. Washington Post, "Battery factory collapses in fire in New Delhi, killing 1," 2 Jan. 2020 Aircraft wiring was suspected to have triggered several major accidents in recent decades and regulators have taken scores of actions to guard against short circuit and other failures. Alan Levin,, "Boeing Argues It Doesn’t Need to Move 737 Max Wiring Bundles," 8 May 2020

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


1867, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1854, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for short-circuit

Time Traveler

The first known use of short-circuit was in 1854

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Statistics for short-circuit

Cite this Entry

“Short-circuit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2020.

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How to pronounce short circuit (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of short-circuit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause (something) to have a short circuit
: to stop working because of a short circuit
: to avoid doing (something)

short circuit


English Language Learners Definition of short circuit (Entry 2 of 2)

: the failure of electricity to flow properly in a circuit because the wires or connections in the circuit are damaged or not connected properly

short circuit


Kids Definition of short circuit

: an electrical connection made between points in an electric circuit between which current does not normally flow

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