See more synonyms for electric on Thesaurus.com
  1. pertaining to, derived from, produced by, or involving electricity: an electric shock.
  2. producing, transmitting, or operated by electric currents: an electric bell; electric cord.
  3. electrifying; thrilling; exciting; stirring: The atmosphere was electric with excitement.
  4. (of a musical instrument)
    1. producing sound by electrical or electronic means: an electric piano.
    2. equipped with connections to an amplifier-loudspeaker system: an electric violin.
  1. Railroads.
    1. an electric locomotive.
    2. Informal.a railroad operated by electricity.
  2. electricity: residential users of gas and electric.
  3. something, as an appliance, vehicle, or toy, operated by electricity.
  4. Archaic. a substance that is a nonconductor of electricity, as glass or amber, used to store or to excite an electric charge.

Origin of electric

1640–50; < New Latin electricus, equivalent to Latin ēlectr(um) amber (see electrum) + -icus -ic
Related formsnon·e·lec·tric, adjective, nounpre·e·lec·tric, adjectiveun·e·lec·tric, adjective

Synonyms for electric

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Antonyms for electric

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for electric

Contemporary Examples of electric

Historical Examples of electric

  • He heard the hum and clang of an electric car off through a chestnut grove.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Behind him, like an electric force pushing him on, the outlaws watched his steps.

  • Reassured, he drew out an electric torch and set it glowing.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Among my other activities, I wired the parlor for electric light.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • A red mist spread between him and the line of electric lights.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for electric


  1. of, derived from, produced by, producing, transmitting, or powered by electricityelectric current; an electric cord; an electric blanket; an electric fence; an electric fire
  2. (of a musical instrument) amplified electronicallyan electric guitar; an electric mandolin
  3. very tense or exciting; emotionally chargedan electric atmosphere
  1. informal an electric train, car, etc
  2. British informal electricity or electrical power
  3. (plural) an electric circuit or electric appliances

Word Origin for electric

C17: from New Latin electricus amber-like (because friction causes amber to become charged), from Latin ēlectrum amber, from Greek ēlektron, of obscure origin


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 electric

1640s, first used in English by physician Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), apparently coined as Modern Latin electricus (literally "resembling amber") by English physicist William Gilbert (1540-1603) in treatise "De Magnete" (1600), from Latin electrum "amber," from Greek elektron "amber" (Homer, Hesiod, Herodotus), also "pale gold" (a compound of 1 part silver to 4 of gold); of unknown origin.

Originally the word described substances which, like amber, attract other substances when rubbed. Meaning "charged with electricity" is from 1670s; the physical force so called because it first was generated by rubbing amber. In many modern instances, the word is short for electrical. Figurative sense is attested by 1793. Electric toothbrush first recorded 1936; electric typewriter 1958.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

electric in Science


  1. Relating to or operated by electricity. Compare electronic.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.