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Thread: light or power

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    Default light or power

    I wanted to ask,

    how do we say in english if there is a power failure.
    because in my language we refer to power as light
    can we say, lights have gone out(in the larger context)
    light has gone off
    or simply power has gone or light has gone.

    thanks in advance.

    Humayun Manzer

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    Ouisch's Avatar
    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: light or power

    We refer to it as a power failure, a power outage, or we simply say the "power is out." If the electricity is out over a large area (an entire city or county, for example), you could refer to it as a "blackout." Saying "we have no lights" or "the lights are out" wouldn't necessarily convey the message that all the electricity is out.

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    Default Re: light or power

    "Power failure" is fine; perhaps "power cut" is more common. There's also "black-out" (and, more recently, "brown-out" for a series of regular, planned black-outs).

    In the IT world I used to live in, I quite often heard/saw the abomination 'outage'.

    b

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    Default Re: light or power

    Quote Originally Posted by humayun manzer View Post
    I wanted to ask,

    how do we say in english if there is a power failure.
    because in my language we refer to power as light
    can we say, lights have gone out(in the larger context)
    light has gone off
    or simply power has gone or light has gone.

    thanks in advance.

    Humayun Manzer
    I would normally say (BrE): "The power's gone off." - (short for 'has gone off')

    It's a fairly loose expression though. These are all acceptable:

    1) "(The) power's out" - (short for 'is out')
    2) "(The) power's gone" - (short for either 'is gone' or 'has gone')
    3) "(The) electrics are out"
    4) "(The) electrics 've gone (out)"

    It is less common to use 'light' as a synonym for 'power' or 'electrics', but not impossible. So, the above phrases can also be used with 'light'. If I heard it, I would assume that the person meant 'power', but had experienced the outage as a light failure.

    Also, there are literally dozens of colloquialisms and vulgarities that may be substituted in these sentences for 'out' or 'gone'. I won't attempt to list them.

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    Default Re: light or power

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    "Power failure" is fine; perhaps "power cut" is more common. There's also "black-out" (and, more recently, "brown-out" for a series of regular, planned black-outs).
    In the IT world I used to live in, I quite often heard/saw the abomination 'outage'.
    b
    Oh, shame on you, Bob . A service 'outage' is now a perfectly acceptable 'Americanism' .

    By the way, a 'brown-out' is technically a short drop in voltage below the service level, in my experience.

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    Default Re: light or power

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    Oh, shame on you, Bob . A service 'outage' is now a perfectly acceptable 'Americanism' .
    It's a fair cop

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    By the way, a 'brown-out' is technically a short drop in voltage below the service level, in my experience.
    That makes more sense than my definition. But wasn't there a word for the ones they started having in California a few years ago?

    b

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