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 Fire insurers are credited with coining the term in the 19th century, when fires were categorized as being caused either by natural hazards (short circuits, lightning) or moral hazards involving human actions (leaving a cigarette in the bin, arson). Jenny Anderson, Quartz, "The best parenting hacks, according to the parents of Quartz," 9 Aug. 2019 Some of the work seemed haphazard, and machine bundling of the wires left them open to short circuits. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "The Greatest Leap, part 1: How the Apollo fire propelled NASA to the Moon," 16 July 2019 The blaze, started by a short circuit in a piece of charging equipment, had torn through the tent in which everything was housed. Jonathan Hawkins, CNN, "Phoenix from the flames: MotoE takes to the circuit just months after fire," 8 July 2019 This can be caused by an overloaded circuit, short circuit or ground fault. azcentral, "How to avoid overloading your electrical system during the summer," 1 Aug. 2019 The disaster, caused by a short circuit in the electrical system and exacerbated by the oxygen-rich capsule that fueled the fire’s intensity, forced NASA to overhaul safety protocols. Ledyard King, USA TODAY, "Apollo 11 moon landing celebrated as pioneering milestone, but it was really about winning the space race," 17 July 2019 Most start in the engine or wheel areas and in a significant number, an electrical wire was the first item to have ignited, causing a short circuit. Gary Richards, The Mercury News, "What’s causing all these bus fires? Roadshow," 9 June 2019 So when a short circuit hit the grid, the suddenly imbalanced system didn’t adjust to it as planned and the grid collapsed. Washington Post, "Argentina: Faulty reprogramming caused 3-nation blackout," 3 July 2019 In at least five vehicles sold worldwide, the grommet has allowed moisture to seep into the battery, risking a short circuit or even a fire. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Audi Recalls Some E-Tron SUVs Over a Battery Issue," 10 June 2019

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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Statistics for short-circuit

Time Traveler for short-circuit

The first known use of short-circuit was in 1854

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More Definitions for short-circuit


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

More from Merriam-Webster on short-circuit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for short-circuit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with short-circuit

Spanish Central: Translation of short-circuit

Comments on short-circuit

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a calculated move

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