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brownout

[broun-out]
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noun
  1. the elimination of some or reduction of all electric lights of a city, especially as a precaution against attack in time of war.
  2. any curtailment of electric power, as by a severe storm.

Origin of brownout

1940–45; brown + out, on the model of blackout
Can be confusedblackout brownout
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for brownout

brownout

noun mainly US
  1. a dimming or reduction in the use of electric lights in a city, esp to conserve electric power or as a defensive precaution in wartime
  2. a temporary reduction in electrical powerCompare blackout (def. 3)
  3. a temporary slowing down of the workings of the internet caused when too many users attempt to access it at the same time
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

brownout in Culture

brownout

A situation in which the voltage in a power grid is reduced below its normal level but not entirely eliminated. (Compare blackout.)

Note

This reduced voltage can result in damage to many electronic devices.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.