static electricity


Definition of static electricity

: electricity that consists of isolated motionless charges (such as those produced by friction)

Examples of static electricity in a Sentence

In dry weather, static electricity can cause clothes to cling.
Recent Examples on the Web Motors spun the rollers, spinning the loops and generating static electricity. Washington Post, "Making history — and smashing atoms — in a leafy part of Chevy Chase, D.C.," 7 Sep. 2019 Unlike the electric current flowing through a power line, static electricity stays put. Alex Fox, Science | AAAS, "The secret of static electricity? It’s shocking," 12 Sep. 2019 One cause is static electricity from particles rubbing together in dense ash clouds near the ground. Fox News, "Stunning image of rare volcanic lightning captured by German photographer: 'It was a scary moment'," 13 Aug. 2019 But even though static electricity was first observed by the ancient Greeks, scientists still don’t know why rubbing certain materials together generates an electrical charge. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: Mountain-moving climate change, an oxygen-starved city, and rats playing hide-and-seek," 13 Sep. 2019 The cause of the fire remains under investigation but Karnes County Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva said the blaze is believed to have started by an static electricity discharge aboard a drilling rig belonging to the oilfield service company Nabors. Sergio Chapa, Houston Chronicle, "Equinor site remains shut in following drilling rig fire in Karnes County," 26 Aug. 2019 By harvesting the everyday energy of static electricity, scientists may have found the world's most plentiful source of renewable, sustainable power. Anna Groves, Discover Magazine, "Table of Contents September/October 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 Due to their size and lack of static electricity, the gems do not stick to the dirt, but are more easily identified following a heavy rain storm and sunshine. Eric Todisco,, "Nebraska Teacher Finds 2.12-Carat Diamond in Arkansas State Park While on Family Vacation," 30 July 2019 Butane is colorless and odorless, and can cause a significant explosion from even the smallest spark, like the tiny shock of static electricity. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego hash oil labs growing in sophistication, but who’s behind them?," 24 June 2019

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

1838, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for static electricity

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for static electricity

The first known use of static electricity was in 1838

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More Definitions for static electricity

static electricity


English Language Learners Definition of static electricity

: electricity that collects on the surface of something and does not flow as a current and can cause a mild shock if you touch it

More from Merriam-Webster on static electricity Encyclopedia article about static electricity

Comments on static electricity

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to speed up the process or progress of

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