static electricity

noun

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

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, PEOPLE.com, "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 But my best guess now is somewhat like static electricity. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "I Tried Kim Kardashian's Favorite Laser Skin-Tightening Treatment," 30 May 2019 Triboelectricity realizes itself as small-scale static electricity generated from friction, the type that can be seen when hair rubs against a balloon and the balloon sticks to a wall. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Bionic Knee Replacements Are Powered By Your Walk," 30 Jan. 2019 Scientists have also sought to use the same effect behind everyday static electricity to power devices. Charles Q. Choi, Washington Post, "How the body could power pacemakers and other implantable devices," 9 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of static electricity

1838, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about static electricity

Statistics for static electricity

Last Updated

19 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for static electricity

The first known use of static electricity was in 1838

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for static electricity

static electricity

noun

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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about static electricity

Comments on static electricity

What made you want to look up static electricity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

suitable to be imparted to the public

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!