[ stat-ik ]
/ ˈstæt ɪk /
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See synonyms for: static / statics on Thesaurus.com

adjective Also stat·i·cal .


  1. static or atmospheric electricity.
  2. interference due to such electricity.
Informal. difficulty; trouble: Will your dad give you any static on using the car?



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Origin of static

First recorded in 1560–70; from New Latin staticus, from Greek statikós, equivalent to sta- (stem of histánai “to make, stand” ) + -tikos adjective suffix; see stand, -tic

historical usage of static

The adjective static comes into English via New Latin staticus, which dates from the late 16th century and means “relating to weighing.”
Staticus is a straightforward borrowing of Greek statikós with the same meaning. Statica, the feminine singular of staticus, is short for ars statica “the art, science, or technique of weighing,” also dating from the late 16th century, and is a translation of Greek téchnē statikē (which, in the 16th century, wasn't just a matter of putting something on a postage meter or bathroom scale). Statikós is a derivative of the adjective statós “(of a horse or water) standing still.” Statics, the branch of mechanics that deals with bodies at rest or forces in equilibrium, is a derivative of Latin statica and Greek statikē.
The noun sense of static, used in telecommunications and electromagnetics, is a relatively new development, from the late 19th century. It refers to atmospheric electricity and the interference due to it. Out of this developed a figurative sense that we use informally today to complain about someone interfering with what we want to do (that is, giving us trouble or difficulty): “Stop giving me static about this!”


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use static in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for static

/ (ˈstætɪk) /

adjective Also: statical


random hissing or crackling or a speckled picture caused by the interference of electrical disturbances in the reception of radio or television transmissions
electric sparks or crackling produced by friction
See also statics

Derived forms of static

statically, adverb

Word Origin for static

C16: from New Latin staticus, from Greek statikos causing to stand, from histanai to stand, put on the scales
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 static

[ stătĭk ]


Having no motion; being at rest. Compare dynamic.
Relating to or producing static electricity.


Distortion or interruption of a broadcast signal, such as crackling or noise in a receiver or specks on a television screen, often produced when background electromagnetic radiation in the atmosphere disturbs signal reception or when there are loose connections in the transmission or reception circuits.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.