alternating current[ôlˈtər-nāˌtĭng, ălˈ-]
alternating current definition by Webster's New World
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
an electric current that reverses its direction periodically: abbrev. AC
alternating current definition by American Heritage Dictionary
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
noun Abbr. AC
An electric current that reverses direction in a circuit at regular intervals.
alternating current - Computer Definition
alternating current - Cultural Definition
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
An electric current (see also current) in which the flow reverses periodically. (Compare direct current (DC).)
- In the United States, most household current is AC, going through sixty reversal cycles each second. Electric motors in household appliances are designed to work with current at this rate of reversal.
alternating current - Science Definition
An electric current that repeatedly changes its direction or strength, usually at a certain frequency or range of frequencies. The term is also used to describe alternating voltages. Power stations generate alternating current because it is easy to raise and lower the voltage of such current using transformers; thus the voltage can be raised very high for transmission (high voltages lose less power as heat than do low voltages), and lowered to safe levels for domestic and industrial use. In North America, the frequency of alternation of the direction of flow is 60 Hz, or 60 cycles per second. In other parts of the world it is 50 Hz. Compare direct current. See Notes at current, Tesla.