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[vohlt] /voʊlt/
noun, Electricity
the standard unit of potential difference and electromotive force in the International System of Units (SI), formally defined to be the difference of electric potential between two points of a conductor carrying a constant current of one ampere, when the power dissipated between these points is equal to one watt.
Abbreviation: V.
1870-75; named after A. Volta


[vohlt] /voʊlt/
  1. a circular or turning movement of a horse.
  2. a gait in which a horse going sideways turns around a center, with the head turned outward.
Fencing. a sudden movement or leap to avoid a thrust.
1650-60; < French volte < Italian volta, noun derivative of voltare to turn < Vulgar Latin *volvitare, frequentative of Latin volvere to turn; see vault2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for volts
  • It may be all bits and volts, but it's not other-worldly.
  • Several million volts coursed through our wiring and blew out nearly every electrical appliance that was plugged in.
  • Each bolt can contain up to one billion volts of electricity.
  • For energies over a million electron volts, nuclei are decomposed, but the protons and neutrons are elementary.
  • Incompetent use of the circuitry can cause a disaster, it is possible to generate high voltages in the millions of volts.
  • volts will trickle out at first, and production volumes will remain cautious.
  • The mini photoelectric device only generates seven volts of electricity.
  • There are plenty of ways to beam volts through the air.
  • Existing machines operate in the range of billions or trillions of electron-volts.
  • Switch on the multimeter and set its function to measure volts.
British Dictionary definitions for volts


the derived SI unit of electric potential; the potential difference between two points on a conductor carrying a current of 1 ampere, when the power dissipated between these points is 1 watt V
Word Origin
C19: named after Count Alessandro Volta2


a small circle of determined size executed in dressage
a leap made in fencing to avoid an opponent's thrust
Word Origin
C17: from French volte, from Italian volta a turn, ultimately from Latin volvere to turn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for volts
unit of electromotive force, 1873, back-formation from adj. voltaic (1813), designating electricity produced by chemical action, formed in allusion to It. physicist Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), who perfected a chemical process used in electrical batteries.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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volts in Medicine

volt (vōlt)
Abbr. V
A unit of electromotive force in the Internation System of Units that will produce a current of 1 ampere in a circuit that has resistance of 1 ohm.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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volts in Science
The SI derived unit used to measure electric potential at a given point, usually a point in an electric circuit. A voltage difference of one volt drives one ampere of current through a conductor that has a resistance of one ohm. One joule of work is required to move an electric charge of one coulomb across a potential difference of one volt. One volt is equivalent to one joule per coulomb. See also Ohm's law.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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volts in Culture
volt [(vohlt)]

The unit of electromotive force, the volt measures how much “pressure” there is in an electric circuit. The higher the voltage, the more electrical current will flow in the circuit.

Note: Ordinary household outlets are usually rated at 115 volts, car batteries at 12 volts, and flashlight batteries at 1.5 volts.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for volts


unit of electrical potential, potential difference and electromotive force in the metre-kilogram-second system (SI); it is equal to the difference in potential between two points in a conductor carrying one ampere current when the power dissipated between the points is one watt. An equivalent is the potential difference across a resistance of one ohm when one ampere is flowing through it. The volt is named in honour of the 18th-19th-century Italian physicist Alessandro Volta. These units are defined in accordance with Ohm's law, that resistance equals the ratio of potential to current, and the respective units of ohm, volt, and ampere are used universally for expressing electrical quantities. See also electric potential; electromotive force.

Learn more about volt with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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