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noun Electricity.
  1. the standard unit of potential difference and electromotive force in the International System of Units(SI), formally defined to be the difference of electric potential between two points of a conductor carrying a constant current of one ampere, when the power dissipated between these points is equal to one watt. Abbreviation: V

Origin of volt1

First recorded in 1870–75; named after A. Volta


  1. Manège.
    1. a circular or turning movement of a horse.
    2. a gait in which a horse going sideways turns around a center, with the head turned outward.
  2. Fencing. a sudden movement or leap to avoid a thrust.

Origin of volt2

1650–60; < French volte < Italian volta, noun derivative of voltare to turn < Vulgar Latin *volvitare, frequentative of Latin volvere to turn; see vault2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for volt


  1. the derived SI unit of electric potential; the potential difference between two points on a conductor carrying a current of 1 ampere, when the power dissipated between these points is 1 wattSymbol: V

Word Origin

C19: named after Count Alessandro Volta 2



  1. a small circle of determined size executed in dressage
  2. a leap made in fencing to avoid an opponent's thrust

Word Origin

C17: from French volte, from Italian volta a turn, ultimately from Latin volvere to turn
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

Word Origin and History for volt


unit of electromotive force, 1873, back-formation from adj. voltaic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

volt in Medicine


  1. A unit of electromotive force in the International System of Units that will produce a current of 1 ampere in a circuit that has resistance of 1 ohm.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

volt in Science


  1. The SI derived unit used to measure electric potential at a given point, usually a point in an electric circuit. A voltage difference of one volt drives one ampere of current through a conductor that has a resistance of one ohm. One joule of work is required to move an electric charge of one coulomb across a potential difference of one volt. One volt is equivalent to one joule per coulomb. See also Ohm's law.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

volt in Culture



The unit of electromotive force, the volt measures how much “pressure” there is in an electric circuit. The higher the voltage, the more electrical current (see also current) will flow in the circuit.


Ordinary household outlets are usually rated at 115 volts, car batteries at 12 volts, and flashlight batteries at 1.5 volts.
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.