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See also: elèctric


Alternative forms[edit]


1640s (Thomas Browne), from New Latin ēlectricus (electrical; of amber), from ēlectrum (amber) +‎ -icus (adjectival suffix), from Ancient Greek ἤλεκτρον (ḗlektron, amber), related to ἠλέκτωρ (ēléktōr, shining sun). The Latin term was apparently used first with the sense “electrical” in 1600 by the English physician and scientist, William Gilbert in his work De Magnete.[1]


  • IPA(key): /ɪˈlɛktɹɪk/, /əˈlɛktɹɪk/
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electric (not comparable)

  1. Of, relating to, produced by, operated with, or utilising electricity; electrical.
    • 2006, Edwin Black, chapter 1, in Internal Combustion[1]:
      But electric vehicles and the batteries that made them run became ensnared in corporate scandals, fraud, and monopolistic corruption that shook the confidence of the nation and inspired automotive upstarts.
    • 2013 July 20, “Out of the gloom”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
      [Rural solar plant] schemes are of little help to industry or other heavy users of electricity. Nor is solar power yet as cheap as the grid. For all that, the rapid arrival of electric light to Indian villages is long overdue. When the national grid suffers its next huge outage, as it did in July 2012 when hundreds of millions were left in the dark, look for specks of light in the villages.
  2. Of or relating to an electronic version of a musical instrument that has an acoustic equivalent.
  3. Being emotionally thrilling; electrifying.
    • a. 1857, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “A Vision of Poets”, in Poems, volume I, New York: C. S. Francis & Co., published 1857, page 195–196:
      And bold / Electric Pindar, quick as fear, / With race-dust on his cheeks, and clear / Slant startled eyes that seemed to hear // The chariot rounding the last goal, / to hurtle past it in his soul.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


electric (usually uncountable, plural electrics)

  1. (informal, uncountable, usually with definite article) Electricity; the electricity supply.
    We had to sit in the dark cos the electric was cut off.
  2. (rare, countable) An electric car.
  3. (archaic) A substance or object which can be electrified; an insulator or non-conductor, like amber or glass.
  4. (fencing) Fencing with the use of a body wire, box, and related equipment to detect when a weapon has touched an opponent.

Usage notes[edit]

Use of "the electric" to mean "the electricity" or "the electricity supply" may be seen as bad English.




  1. ^ electric”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.



Borrowed from French électrique.



electric m or n (feminine singular electrică, masculine plural electrici, feminine and neuter plural electrice)

  1. electric


Related terms[edit]