1 of 2


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

transitive verb

: 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

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

Example Sentences

Noun The fire was caused by a short circuit.
Recent Examples on the Web
Samsung is recalling 650,000 top-loading washing machines because the units can short circuit and overheat, posing a fire hazard. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 23 Dec. 2022 Samsung is recalling nearly 664,000 top-loading washing machines because the units can short circuit and overheat, posing a fire hazard. Natalie Neysa Alund, USA TODAY, 23 Dec. 2022 Even in its game against Kentucky, Ole Miss might have given up 30-plus points if the Wildcats didn’t short circuit in the red zone and on special teams. Joseph Goodman |, al, 20 Oct. 2022 If an electric vehicle’s battery is damaged by a collision or water intrusion from a flood, a short circuit can occur, which causes the cell to discharge energy and heat up. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, 26 Oct. 2022 The problem is that the dendrites bore through the electrolyte over time and cause a short circuit during charging, reducing the battery's life span. Roberto Baldwin, Ars Technica, 2 Nov. 2022 The issue is tied to an accessory tow hitch, which can allow moisture to collect and cause a short circuit, U.S. safety regulators say. Aaron Gregg, Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2022 The fire risk stems from a possible electrical short circuit caused by debris or moisture accumulating inside the tow-hitch harness module. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 23 Aug. 2022 Authorities might have lent directly to short circuit what has become an inexorable spread, not to the failing developers but to others in the financial system to mitigate their vulnerability to the developers’ failures. Milton Ezrati, Forbes, 3 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use


1867, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1854, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of short-circuit was in 1854

Dictionary Entries Near short-circuit

short circuit



Cite this Entry

“Short-circuit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to make a short circuit in or have a short circuit

short circuit

2 of 2 noun
: an electrical connection made between points in an electric circuit between which current does not normally flow
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