[ ih-lek-trik ]
/ ɪˈlɛk trɪk /



Nearby words

  1. electra,
  2. electra complex,
  3. electra paradox,
  4. electress,
  5. electret,
  6. electric arc,
  7. electric arc welding,
  8. electric blanket,
  9. electric blue,
  10. electric catfish

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for electric

British Dictionary definitions for electric


/ (ɪˈlɛktrɪk) /


of, derived from, produced by, producing, transmitting, or powered by electricityelectric current; an electric cord; an electric blanket; an electric fence; an electric fire
(of a musical instrument) amplified electronicallyan electric guitar; an electric mandolin
very tense or exciting; emotionally chargedan electric atmosphere


informal an electric train, car, etc
British informal electricity or electrical power
(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

Science definitions for electric


[ ĭ-lĕktrĭk ]

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.