electricity


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Electricity \E`lec*tric"i*ty\ ([=e]`l[e^]k*tr[i^]s"[i^]*t[y^]),
   n.; pl. Electricities ([=e]`l[e^]k*tr[i^]s"[i^]*t[i^]z).
   [Cf. F. ['e]lectricit['e]. See Electric.]
   1. (Physics) a property of certain of the fundamental
      particles of which matter is composed, called also
      electric charge, and being of two types, designated
      positive and negative; the property of electric charge on
      a particle or physical body creates a force field which
      affects other particles or bodies possessing electric
      charge; positive charges create a repulsive force between
      them, and negative charges also create a repulsive force.
      A positively charged body and a negatively charged body
      will create an attractive force between them. The unit of
      electrical charge is the coulomb, and the intensity of
      the force field at any point is measured in volts.
      [PJC]

   2. any of several phenomena associated with the accumulation
      or movement of electrically charged particles within
      material bodies, classified as static electricity and
      electric current. Static electricity is often observed
      in everyday life, when it causes certain materials to
      cling together; when sufficient static charge is
      accumulated, an electric current may pass through the air
      between two charged bodies, and is observed as a visible
      spark; when the spark passes from a human body to another
      object it may be felt as a mild to strong painful
      sensation. Electricity in the form of electric current is
      put to many practical uses in electrical and electronic
      devices. Lightning is also known to be a form of electric
      current passing between clouds and the ground, or between
      two clouds. Electric currents may produce heat, light,
      concussion, and often chemical changes when passed between
      objects or through any imperfectly conducting substance or
      space. Accumulation of electrical charge or generation of
      a voltage differnce between two parts of a complex object
      may be caused by any of a variety of disturbances of
      molecular equilibrium, whether from a chemical, physical,
      or mechanical, cause. Electric current in metals and most
      other solid coductors is carried by the movement of
      electrons from one part of the metal to another. In ionic
      solutions and in semiconductors, other types of movement
      of charged particles may be responsible for the observed
      electrical current.
      [PJC]

   Note: Electricity is manifested under following different
         forms: (a)

   Statical electricity, called also

   Frictional electricity or Common electricity, electricity
      in the condition of a stationary charge, in which the
      disturbance is produced by friction, as of glass, amber,
      etc., or by induction. (b)

   Dynamical electricity, called also

   Voltaic electricity, electricity in motion, or as a current
      produced by chemical decomposition, as by means of a
      voltaic battery, or by mechanical action, as by
      dynamo-electric machines. (c)

   Thermoelectricity, in which the disturbing cause is heat
      (attended possibly with some chemical action). It is
      developed by uniting two pieces of unlike metals in a bar,
      and then heating the bar unequally. (d)

   Atmospheric electricity, any condition of electrical
      disturbance in the atmosphere or clouds, due to some or
      all of the above mentioned causes. (e)

   Magnetic electricity, electricity developed by the action
      of magnets. (f)

   Positive electricity, the electricity that appears at the
      positive pole or anode of a battery, or that is produced
      by friction of glass; -- called also {vitreous
      electricity}. (g)

   Negative electricity, the electricity that appears at the
      negative pole or cathode, or is produced by the friction
      of resinous substance; -- called also resinous
      electricity. (h)

   Organic electricity, that which is developed in organic
      structures, either animal or vegetable, the phrase animal
      electricity being much more common.
      [1913 Webster]

   3. The science which studies the phenomena and laws of
      electricity; electrical science.
      [1913 Webster]

   4. Fig.: excitement, anticipation, or emotional tension,
      usually caused by the occurrence or expectation of
      something unusual or important.
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