• (British) IPA: /ˌiːlekˈtɹɪsɪti/, /ɪˌlɛkˈtɹɪsɪti/, /ˌɛlɪkˈtɹɪsɪti/
  • (America) IPA: /əˌlɛkˈtɹɪsɪti/, /iˌlɛkˈtɹɪsɪti/, /ɪˌlɛkˈt͡ʃɹɪsɪti/

electricity (uncountable)

  1. Originally, a property of amber and certain other nonconducting substances to attract lightweight material when rubbed, or the cause of this property; now understood to be a phenomenon caused by the distribution and movement of charged subatomic particles and their interaction with the electromagnetic field. [from 17th c.]
    • 1646, Sir Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, 4th edition, p. 56:
      Again, the concretion of Ice will not endure a dry attrition without liquation ; for if it be rubbed long with a cloth, it melteth. But Cryſtal will calefie unto electricity ; that is, a power to attract ſtraws or light bodies, and convert the needle freely placed.
    • 1747 July 28, Benjamin Franklin, letter to Peter Collinson, collected in New Experiments and Observations on Electricity, part I, 3rd edition, London: D. Henry and R. Cape, published 1760, page 8 ↗:
      For, reſtoring the equilibrium in the bottle does not at all affect the Electricity in the man thro’ whom the fire paſſes ; that Electricity is neither increaſed nor diminiſhed.
    • 2011, Jon Henley, The Guardian, 29 Mar 2011:
      How does it work, though? It's based on the observation made some 200 years ago that electricity can change the shape of flames.
  2. (physics) The study of electrical phenomena; the branch of science dealing with such phenomena. [from 18th c.]
  3. A feeling of excitement; a thrill. [from 18th c.]
    Opening night for the new production had an electricity unlike other openings.
  4. Electric power/energy as used in homes etc., supplied by power stations or generators. [from 19th c.]
    • 2000, James Meek, [http://www.guardian.co.uk/renewable/Story/0,2763,363461,00.html Home-made answer to generating electricity harks back to the past], The Guardian:
      Householders could one day be producing as much electricity as all the country's nuclear power stations combined, thanks to the revolutionary application of a device developed in the early 19th century.
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