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 cause of the blaze appears to have been an electrical short circuit, according to initial findings, Jakarta Police Chief Fadil Imran said. Niniek Karmini, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Sep. 2021 There is built-in output short circuit protection, overvoltage protection, and overload protection. Chris Hachey, BGR, 22 Sep. 2021 Which is absolutely fine—on this short circuit, two laps will be over quickly anyway. Derek Powell, Car and Driver, 16 Sep. 2021 The fire which broke out at the Tangerang prison, located 25 miles west of Jakarta, is believed to have been caused by a short circuit in the prison’s faulty electrical system, authorities noted. Siladitya Ray, Forbes, 8 Sep. 2021 The preliminary investigation into the cause of the fire that started around 1:45 a.m. pointed to a short circuit in one of 19 cells in prison Block C2, Jakarta Police Chief Fadil Imran said. Niniek Karmini, ajc, 8 Sep. 2021 The problem appears to involve manufacturing defects that can cause their batteries to short circuit, even when parked. Paul A. Eisenstein, NBC News, 23 Aug. 2021 Authorities at one point said the fire was caused by a short circuit. Fox News, 14 July 2021 Authorities at one point said the fire was caused by a short circuit. Fox News, 14 July 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near short-circuit



short circuit

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Cite this Entry

“Short-circuit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for short-circuit



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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