elec·​tric | \ i-ˈlek-trik How to pronounce electric (audio) , ē- \

Definition of electric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 or electrical \ i-​ˈlek-​tri-​kəl How to pronounce electric (audio) , ē-​ \ : of, relating to, or operated by electricity an electric current an electric heater
2 : exciting as if by electric shock an electric performance an electric personality also : charged with strong emotion the room was electric with tension
b : amplifying sound by electronic means used of a musical instrument an electric guitar
4 : very bright electric blue electric orange



Definition of electric (Entry 2 of 2)

1 archaic : a nonconductor of electricity used to excite or accumulate electricity
2 : something (such as a light, automobile, or train) operated by electricity

Other Words from electric


electrically \ i-​ˈlek-​tri-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce electric (audio) , ē-​ \ adverb

Did you know?

The word electric is derived from the Greek word for amber, elektron. It is only in modern times that practical use has been made of electricity, but some electrical phenomena have been known since antiquity. Certain philosophers of ancient Greece found that by rubbing amber with a piece of cloth, they could enable the amber to pick up light objects, such as feathers. In the 17th century, students of natural science began to discover that other natural phenomena were related to the effect of friction on amber.

Examples of electric in a Sentence

Adjective The device administers a mild electric shock. It plugs into any electric socket. The electrical cord is damaged. There's a problem with the building's electrical wiring. The pianist gave an electric performance. The atmosphere in the room was electric.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Merchants Fleet decided to buy 5,400 EV410s, bringing its total purchase to 18,000 BrightDrop electric vehicles. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, 19 Nov. 2021 One concern people have is whether there are enough places that have equipment to charge electric vehicles. Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2021 Longer term, the growth of electric vehicles and the software required to operate them will take demand for automotive chips into a new league. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, 18 Nov. 2021 The legislation would provide tax credits to Americans buying new electric vehicles that could provide up to $12,500 in incentives to some families to drop gas-guzzling vehicles. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 18 Nov. 2021 The following year, only purchases of electric vehicles made in the U.S. would qualify for the credit. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 18 Nov. 2021 The President visited a bridge in Woodstock, New Hampshire, on Tuesday and plans to visit Detroit to tout electric vehicles on Wednesday -- visiting states with significant midterm races. Dan Merica, CNN, 17 Nov. 2021 Next door, a standalone space is dedicated to Mercedes EQ, the German brand’s arm of electric vehicles. Laura Burstein, Robb Report, 17 Nov. 2021 Freeman, Murphy, and Johnson join Fortune cohosts Beth Kowitt and Geoff Colvin on Fortune's Reinvent, a podcast about fighting to thrive in a world turned upside-down, to talk about GM's massive shift in focus to electric vehicles. Fortune, 17 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As a result 21 vehicles from various agencies such as fire, police, emergency services, gas and electric responded, according to Simpson, with 55 personnel on the scene. Kristen Griffith, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 16 Nov. 2021 The air pollution issue in Delhi has already forced the adoption of greener options: All public transport must either be natural gas or electric. James Longman, ABC News, 2 Nov. 2021 Fisker’s new company plans to start production on its first vehicle, the Ocean electric SUV, by the end of next year. Dale Buss, Forbes, 25 Feb. 2021 Eventually, the vessel could support full hybrid (diesel-electric) propulsion. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 1 Nov. 2021 That is €4,000 less than the least expensive version of Volkswagen’s compact electric S.U.V., the ID.4. New York Times, 31 Oct. 2021 The tens of thousands of diesel freight trucks that spew harmful air pollution in Barrio Logan and west National City on their way to the Port of San Diego will transition to battery-electric or some other zero-emission technology by 2030. Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Oct. 2021 Exhibits cannot be attached to the walls, floors or ceiling, for example, and electric and data systems had to be built to handle the show’s requirements. Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2021 Atlis Motor Vehicles is producing its AMV battery cells at its Mesa, Arizona, headquarters and is developing battery cells and packs to power its XP platform and XP battery-electric pickup trucks with driving ranges of 300-500 miles. Ed Garsten, Forbes, 10 June 2021

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


1722, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for electric


New Latin electricus produced from amber by friction, electric, from Medieval Latin, of amber, from Latin electrum amber, electrum, from Greek ēlektron; akin to Greek ēlektōr beaming sun

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Time Traveler for electric

Time Traveler

The first known use of electric was in 1646

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Dictionary Entries Near electric



electrical degree

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Statistics for electric

Last Updated

21 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Electric.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/electric. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for electric



English Language Learners Definition of electric

: of or relating to electricity
: operated by electricity
: providing electricity


elec·​tric | \ i-ˈlek-trik How to pronounce electric (audio) \

Kids Definition of electric

1 or electrical\ -​tri-​kəl \ : of or relating to electricity or its use an electric current electrical engineering
2 : heated, moved, made, or run by electricity an electric heater an electric locomotive
3 : giving off sounds through an electronic amplifier an electric guitar
4 : having a thrilling effect The singer gave an electric performance.

Other Words from electric

electrically adverb electrically powered cars


elec·​tric | \ i-ˈlek-trik How to pronounce electric (audio) \
variants: or electrical \ -​tri-​kəl How to pronounce electric (audio) \

Medical Definition of electric

: of, relating to, or operated by electricity

Other Words from electric

electrically \ -​tri-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce electric (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on electric

Nglish: Translation of electric for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of electric for Arabic Speakers


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