General English



  • noun a current used to make light, heat or power


  • The phenomena associated with and arising from moving or stationary electric charges. electric charge is a basic property of subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, and the antimatter counterparts of each of these, and may be negative or positive. Electricity produced by electric charges in motion is called dynamic electricity, while static electricity is that produced by electric charges at rest. Electricity is one of the fundamental forms of energy, and can produce thermal, radiant, magnetic, and chemical changes.
  • The science that deals with electricity (1).
  • Energy arising from electricity (1). Also, the flow or transfer of this energy. Also called electric energy (1).
  • The power available from an electrical outlet. Also called electric energy (2), or electric power (2).
  • electrical energy generated through conversions from other forms of energy, such as chemical, thermal, nuclear, or solar. Also called electric energy (3), or electric power (3).
  • synonymelectric energy
  • synonymelectric power

Origin & History of “electricity”

The earliest manifestation of electricity was that produced by rubbing amber, and hence the name, based on ēlectrum, Latin for ‘amber’ (which in turn derives from Greek ēlektron). The first evidence of this in a Latin text is in William Gilbert’s De magnete 1600, but by the middle of the century we find the word being used in English treatises, notably Sir Thomas Browne’s Pseudodoxia epidemica 1646. (At this early stage, of course, it referred only to the ability of rubbed amber, etc to attract light bodies, the only property of electricity then known about; it was not until later that the full range of other electrical phenomena came to be included under the term.).