e·lec·tron·ic / ilekˈtränik; ˌēlek-/ •
adj. 1. (of a device) having or operating with the aid of many small components, esp. microchips and transistors, that control and direct an electric current: an electronic calculator. ∎ (of music) produced by electronic instruments. ∎ of or relating to electronics: a degree in electronic engineering.2. of or relating to electrons.3. relating to or carried out using a computer or other electronic device, esp. over a network: electronic banking.DERIVATIVES: e·lec·tron·i·cal·ly / -(ə)lē/ adv.
(as opposed to electric
). Originally, concerned with the movement of electrons in free space, i.e. in vacuum tubes (UK: valves). Then, by extension, concerned with the movement of charges in semiconductors. Now, by extension, concerned with the representation, storage, and transmission of information by electrical means. That is now what distinguishes electronic engineering from electrical engineering
, the latter dealing with energy rather than with information. A further distinguishing feature is that electronic engineering mainly deals with low power levels and frequencies of anywhere between zero and microwaves, while electrical engineering
tends to focus on low frequency (50–60 Hz) high power (kilowatts to megawatts). Clearly there will be a gray area where the disciplines overlap.