short circuit

noun Electricity.
an abnormal, usually unintentional condition of relatively low resistance between two points of different potential in a circuit, usually resulting in a flow of excess current.

1875–80 Unabridged


verb (used with object)
to make (an appliance, switch, etc.) inoperable by establishing a short circuit in.
to carry (a current) as a short circuit.
to bypass, impede, hinder, or frustrate: Bad weather short-circuited my vacation plans.
verb (used without object)
Electricity. to form a short circuit or become inoperable due to a short circuit.

1870–75 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
short circuit
1.  a faulty or accidental connection between two points of different potential in an electric circuit, bypassing the load and establishing a path of low resistance through which an excessive current can flow. It can cause damage to the components if the circuit is not protected by a fuse
2.  to develop or cause to develop a short circuit
3.  (tr) to bypass (a procedure, regulation, etc)
4.  (tr) to hinder or frustrate (plans, etc)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
short circuit   (shôrt)  Pronunciation Key 
An electrical path in a circuit that causes most of the current to flow around or away from some other path in the circuit. Accidental short circuits, especially between the high and low voltages of a power supply, can cause very strong current to flow, possibly damaging or overheating the circuit.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

short circuit definition

An electrical circuit in which a path of very low resistance has been opened, usually accidentally. When the resistance drops, the electric current in the circuit becomes very high and can cause damage to the circuit and start fires.

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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Example sentences
Also, if allowed to drain completely, they can short-circuit and make
  recharging dangerous.
Always a volatile politician, he may decide to short-circuit a miserable and
  inevitable decline and leave of his own volition.
The findings suggest that understanding the logic behind mob behavior may offer
  ways to short-circuit riots before they start.
Prisoners short-circuit electrical outlets, start fires, and cause other
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