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short circuit

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noun Electricity.
Also called short . an abnormal, usually unintentional condition of relatively low resistance between two points of different potential in a circuit, usually resulting in a flow of excess current.
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Origin of short circuit

First recorded in 1875–80

Other definitions for short circuit (2 of 2)

short-circuit
[ shawrt-sur-kit ]
/ ˌʃɔrtˈsɜr kɪt /

verb (used with object)
Electricity.
  1. to make (an appliance, switch, etc.) inoperable by establishing a short circuit in.
  2. to carry (a current) as a short circuit.
to bypass, impede, hinder, or frustrate: Bad weather short-circuited my vacation plans.
verb (used without object)
Electricity. to form a short circuit or become inoperable due to a short circuit.

Origin of short-circuit

First recorded in 1870–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use short circuit in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for short circuit

short circuit

noun
a faulty or accidental connection between two points of different potential in an electric circuit, bypassing the load and establishing a path of low resistance through which an excessive current can flow. It can cause damage to the components if the circuit is not protected by a fuse
verb short-circuit
to develop or cause to develop a short circuit
(tr) to bypass (a procedure, regulation, etc)
(tr) to hinder or frustrate (plans, etc)
Sometimes (for senses 1, 2) shortened to: short
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

Scientific definitions for short circuit

short circuit
[ shôrt ]

An electrical path in a circuit that causes most of the current to flow around or away from some other path in the circuit. Accidental short circuits, especially between the high and low voltages of a power supply, can cause very strong current to flow, possibly damaging or overheating the circuit.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for short circuit

short circuit

An electrical circuit in which a path of very low resistance has been opened, usually accidentally. When the resistance drops, the electric current (see also current) in the circuit becomes very high and can cause damage to the circuit and start fires.

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.
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