direct current

  1. Electricity. an electric current of constant direction, having a magnitude that does not vary or varies only slightly. Abbreviation: dc

Origin of direct current

First recorded in 1885–90
Related formsdi·rect-cur·rent, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for direct current

Historical Examples of direct current

  • It will be necessary to obtain the use of a direct-current ammeter for this purpose.

  • This arrangement can be used with direct-current circuits only.

  • The engine is belted to a direct-current generator of the shunt-wound type.

    Farm Mechanics

    Herbert A. Shearer

  • The alternating-current arc-lamp was developed after the appearance of the direct-current open-arc and has been widely used.

    Artificial Light

    M. Luckiesh

  • This humming sound is quite different from the occasional hissing of a direct-current arc.

    Artificial Light

    M. Luckiesh

British Dictionary definitions for direct current

direct current

  1. a continuous electric current that flows in one direction only, without substantial variation in magnitudeAbbreviation: DC Compare alternating current
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

direct current in Science

direct current

  1. An electric current that moves in one direction with constant strength. Batteries are a source of direct current. Direct current is not used for long-distance power transmission because it is difficult to step up the voltage to a level that is efficient for energy transfer and then to step the voltage back down again for safe domestic use. Compare alternating current. See Notes at current Tesla.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

direct current in Culture

direct current

The electric current (see also current) in which the electrons flow in one direction only. (Compare alternating current (AC).)


DC is usually supplied by batteries.
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.