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

Examples of short-circuit in a Sentence

Noun The fire was caused by a short circuit.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But in a statement on Twitter, the Burundi interior ministry said an electrical short circuit caused the fire. NBC News, 7 Dec. 2021 Coupled with water condensation forming at cold temperatures, the risk increases over time that the wiring could short circuit, triggering an onboard fire. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 4 Dec. 2021 General Motors is recalling more than 331,000 diesel pickup trucks in the United States for a second time because the engine block heater cords can short circuit and cause fires., 8 July 2021 General Motors is recalling more than 331,000 diesel pickup trucks in the U.S. for a second time because the engine block heater cords can short circuit and cause fires. Washington Post, 8 July 2021 Officials are looking at violations of safety procedures or a short circuit among possible causes., 22 Oct. 2021 First, some unrecognized defect in the manufacturing process may have caused one flaw to occur at a higher rate than projected—even though, by itself, that flaw would not have led to a short circuit. John Voelcker, Car and Driver, 13 Sep. 2021 The cause of the blaze appears to have been an electrical short circuit, according to initial findings, Jakarta Police Chief Fadil Imran said. Niniek Karmini, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Sep. 2021 There is built-in output short circuit protection, overvoltage protection, and overload protection. Chris Hachey, BGR, 22 Sep. 2021

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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Time Traveler for short-circuit

Time Traveler

The first known use of short-circuit was in 1854

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Dictionary Entries Near short-circuit



short circuit

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Cite this Entry

“Short-circuit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for short-circuit



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


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