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[kur-uh nt, kuhr-] /ˈkɜr ənt, ˈkʌr-/
passing in time; belonging to the time actually passing:
the current month.
prevalent; customary:
the current practice.
popular; in vogue:
current fashions.
new; present; most recent:
the current issue of a publication.
publicly reported or known:
a rumor that is current.
passing from one to another; circulating, as a coin.
Archaic. running; flowing.
Obsolete. genuine; authentic.
a flowing; flow, as of a river.
something that flows, as a stream.
a large portion of air, large body of water, etc., moving in a certain direction.
the speed at which such flow moves; velocity of flow.
Electricity. electric current.
a course, as of time or events; the main course; the general tendency.
Origin of current
1250-1300; < Latin current- (stem of currēns) running (present participle of currere); replacing Middle English curraunt < Anglo-French < Latin as above; see -ent
Related forms
currently, adverb
noncurrent, adjective
noncurrently, adverb
precurrent, adjective
uncurrent, adjective
uncurrently, adverb
Can be confused
currant, current.
2. common, widespread, popular, rife. 3. stylish, fashionable, modish.
2. obsolete. 3. old-fashioned.
Synonym Study
2.Current, present, prevailing, prevalent refer to something generally or commonly in use. That which is current is in general circulation or a matter of common knowledge or acceptance: current usage in English. Present refers to that which is in use now; it always has the sense of time: present customs. That which is prevailing is that which has superseded others: prevailing fashion. That which is prevalent exists or is spread widely: a prevalent idea. 10. See stream. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for current
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He sat down, rather discontented, and resumed the current of his reflections.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Then there was a current of curses, a swift hissing of invective.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • Customers came just then, to change the current of his thoughts.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • That speech was like a current of strength to the wretched girl.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • The current of cultivated opinion has long set in this direction.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
British Dictionary definitions for current


of the immediate present; in progress: current events
most recent; up-to-date
commonly known, practised, or accepted; widespread: a current rumour
circulating and valid at present: current coins
(esp of water or air) a steady usually natural flow
a mass of air, body of water, etc, that has a steady flow in a particular direction
the rate of flow of such a mass
(physics) Also called electric current
  1. a flow of electric charge through a conductor
  2. the rate of flow of this charge. It is measured in amperes I
a general trend or drift: currents of opinion
Derived Forms
currently, adverb
currentness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French corant, literally: running, from corre to run, from Latin currere
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
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Word Origin and History for current

c.1300, "running, flowing," from Old French corant "running, lively, eager, swift," present participle of corre "to run," from Latin currere "to run, move quickly" (of persons or things), from PIE *kers- "to run" (cf. Greek -khouros "running," Lithuanian karsiu "go quickly," Old Norse horskr "swift," Old Irish and Middle Welsh carr "cart, wagon," Breton karr "chariot," Welsh carrog "torrent"). Meaning "prevalent, generally accepted" is from 1560s.


late 14c., from Middle French corant (Modern French courant), from Old French corant (see current (adj.)). Applied 1747 to the flow of electrical force.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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current in Medicine

current cur·rent (kûr'ənt, kŭr'-)

  1. A stream or flow of a liquid or gas.

  2. Symbol I A flow of electric charge.

  3. Symbol I, i The amount of electric charge flowing past a specified circuit point per unit time.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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current in Science
  1. A flowing movement in a liquid, gas, plasma, or other form of matter, especially one that follows a recognizable course.

  2. A flow of positive electric charge. The strength of current flow in any medium is related to voltage differences in that medium, as well as the electrical properties of the medium, and is measured in amperes. Since electrons are stipulated to have a negative charge, current in an electrical circuit actually flows in the opposite direction of the movement of electrons. See also electromagnetism, Ohm's law. See Note at electric charge.

Our Living Language  : Electric current is the phenomenon most often experienced in the form of electricity. Any time an object with a net electric charge is in motion, such as an electron in a wire or a positively charged ion jetting into the atmosphere from a solar flare, there is an electric current; the total current moving through some cross-sectional area in a given direction is simply the amount of positive charge moving through that cross-section. Current is sometimes confused with electric potential or voltage, but a voltage difference between two points (such as the two terminals of a battery) means only that current can potentially flow between them; how much does in fact flow depends on the resistance of the material between the two points. Electrical signals transmitted through a wire generally propagate at nearly the speed of light, but the current in the wire actually moves very slowly: pushing electrons into one end of the wire is rather like pushing a marble into one end of a tube filled with marbles—a marble (or electron) gets pushed out the other end almost instantly, even though the marbles (or electrons) inside move only incrementally.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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