Talk:electric

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About the etymology[edit]

In the etymology of this word the following text appears currently:

From Latinized Greek electrinus "made of amber", from Ancient Greek ἤλεκτρον (elektron) "amber", from ἠλέκτωρ (elektor) "shiny, bright", from ἥλιος (helios) "sun".
  1. Is it electrinus or electricus?. The word ἠλεκτρικός is not in my dictionary but it does not seem to be an improbable ancient Greek word. Is it electrinus a typo or was electricus never used in Latin centuries ago?.
  2. According to my dictionary of ancient Greek (634 pages thick, small type, pocket sized, hand bound, probably quite more than sixty years old, bought in a secon-hand bookshop and with no mention of the author, the editor or the place where it was printed whatsoever but a good one) ἠλέκτωρ is a masculine noun meaning just "the sun". The ending of the word is not a adjectival Greek one. If the root means "to shine", it would mean "the shining one" or "the radiant one" rather than "shiny" or "radiant".
  3. The same dictionary, immediately after the definition, goes on thus (the words between square brackets are mine): «as if ἀλέκτωρ [cockerel], fr. α 1 [negative prefix, 'without', '-less'], and λέκτρον [bed], Κ.Η.ζ, 513.» ... i.e. along with the suffix "-ωρ" (English "er") it would mean something like "bed remover" (a good nickname for a cockerel, I guess). This makes me think that the etymology may be more complex than that stated in the article. I do not know what the reference "Κ.Η.ζ, 513" is but this could be one of those cases where a blending of concepts and similar words get together to make up a "catchy clever" word. It might be as well an ancient folk etymology, though. According to this, the origin of the Greek word elektron is unknown...--Piolinfax 12:17, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
As for question 1: "electricus", which was coined in w:De Magnete in 1600, so it's "New Latin", apparently... I'm writing about the etymology on Wikipedia in w:quantity of electricity (though this might be moved to a different title).
It also appears that "electric" could be used as a noun originally; a piece of amber would be called "an electric" to signify that it could hold a charge. Omegatron 00:13, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Oh. This is actually the only definition present in the 1828 and 1913 Websters: [1] Omegatron 00:14, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
This gives an archaic definition, too, so my edit was good. Omegatron 01:46, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

RFV discussion: December 2017–January 2018[edit]

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Sense 4:

Drawing electricity from an external source; not battery-operated; corded.
Is that a rechargeable vacuum? No, it's electric.

Does this really exist, other than as a mistake, i.e. someone not understanding that a rechargeable device is also "electric"? Mihia (talk) 19:02, 13 December 2017 (UTC)

I think mistakes are a major cause of language change. In addition, I think it is very difficult to call any particular usage a mistake if the mistake is a narrowing or broadening of an establish meaning or an extension outside the previous realms of usage. An narrowed definition for a word like electric seems like a challenge to cite. DCDuring (talk) 00:05, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
This is not support for the definition under challenge, but it does illustrate a distinction between electric and "truly electric":
  • 2007, Car and Driver[2], volume 52, page 26:
    It's the battery, stupid. Hybrids are not electric cars. This distinction is critical to understanding. Hybrids are conventional cars to which a system has been added to recapture the energy normally wasted by braking. This energy is stored briefly until it can be returned to the system as an assist to propulsion. Hybrids are feasible in a day when electric cars are not because hybrids are fuel-burning cars assisted only mildly by a very small battery.
DCDuring (talk) 00:25, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • 2003, NAWCC Bulletin[3], volume 45, page 811:
    The dial displays the words "Hamilton Electronic," but the watch is not electric. The analog movement is battery-operated, with a pulsed balance, and I believe is diode switched with 7 jewels. It contains a #702 unadjusted battery, #344. I know the movement design is previous to quartz digital or analog and is probably the second design of a battery-operated mechanical watch
  • 1964, Montgomery Ward, Catalogue[4], page 765:
    $6.73 Battery Model. Same as (F) but NOT electric. Order batteries below. 67 B 3366- Wt. 1 lb. .$4.24 "C" Batteries. Wt. 6 oz. 67 B 3217 2 for 30c ©Table Viewer. Changes slides automatically. For all 2-in. cardboard-mounted slides: 35mm, 828, 126 and 127. Insert up to 20 slides in right-hand well. Push-pull action positions slide under 214 x 214-ln. screen; deposits slides In left-hand well. Plastic housing. 67 B 3362— Wt. 3 lbs. Now $9.95 Battery Model. Same as (G), but not electric.
Thanks for finding the quotes. Personally, I think the two above are simply nonsense, in terms of their use of the word "electric". I don't necessarily think we should record every misuse of a word in the dictionary. Mihia (talk) 02:27, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
The quotes are interesting, but do not support the supplied definition. Neither the electric car or electric watch referred to uses a power cord during operation. These quotes seem to indicate, rather, that we might want to add entries for electric car and for electric watch, because they are more specific than sum-of-parts. Kiwima (talk) 04:22, 14 December 2017 (UTC)

RFV-failed Kiwima (talk) 20:19, 14 January 2018 (UTC)