Etymology
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electric (adj.)

1640s, first used in English by physician Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), apparently coined as Modern Latin electricus (literally "resembling amber") by English physicist William Gilbert (1540-1603) in treatise "De Magnete" (1600), from Latin electrum "amber," from Greek ēlektron "amber" (Homer, Hesiod, Herodotus), also "pale gold" (a compound of 1 part silver to 4 of gold); which is of unknown origin.

Vim illam electricam nobis placet appellare [Gilbert]

Originally the word described substances which, like amber, attract other substances when rubbed. Meaning "charged with electricity" is from 1670s; the physical force so called because it first was generated by rubbing amber. In many modern instances, the word is short for electrical. Figurative sense is attested by 1793. Electric light is from 1767. Electric toothbrush first recorded 1936; electric blanket in 1930. Electric typewriter is from 1958. Electric guitar is from 1938; electric organ coined as the name of a hypothetical future instrument in 1885.

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current (adj.)

c. 1300, curraunt, "running, flowing, moving along" (a sense now archaic), from Old French corant "running, lively, eager, swift," present participle of corre "to run," from Latin currere "to run, move quickly" (of persons or things), from PIE root *kers- "to run." Related: Currentness.

Sense of "presently in effect" is from mid-15c. Meaning "prevalent, generally reported or known" is from 1560s; that of "established by common consent" is from 1590s; that of "now passing, present now, in progress" is from c. 1600. Of money, "passing from one person to another," late 15c. Current events is attested from 1795; current affairs by 1776.

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current (n.)

late 14c., curraunt, "that which runs or flows," from Old French corant (Modern French courant), from Old French corant (see current (adj.)). Meaning "a flowing," especially "portion of a large body of water or air moving in a certain direction," is from 1550s. Applied from 1747 to the flowing of electrical force through a conducting body (electricity formerly was regarded as a sort of fluid).

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magneto-electric (adj.)

also magnetoelectric, 1831, "characterized by electricity produced by magnets," from magneto- + electric. Magneto-electric machine is from 1831.

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photo-electric (adj.)

1863, "acting by the combination of light and electricity;" by 1880 as "producing light by means of electricity," from photo- + electric

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pre-electric (adj.)

"occurring or pertaining to the time before the use of electricity," 1879, from pre- + electric.

Just as her father was thus summoned away, Lotty saw Fred in the distance, waving his arms, and looking like an animated semaphore of the pre-electric epoch. [Arthur Locker, "Tollit's Tragedy," in The Graphic, summer 1879]
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counter-current (n.)

"a current (of any kind) running in an opposite direction to another current," 1680s, from counter- + current (n.).

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hydro-electric (adj.)
also hydroelectric, 1827, "produced by a galvanic cell battery," which uses liquid, from hydro- "water" + electric. Meaning "generating electricity by force of moving water" is from 1884. Related: Hydroelectricity.
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cross-current (n.)

"a current running across another," 1590s, from cross- + current (n.).

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