from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The breaking of an electric circuit at a point of usual contact, so that an electric arc or series of sparks jumps across the gap until the space between the terminals is too great for the tension of the current to overcome the resistance offered by the air or other medium through which the current would have to pass: used in igniting charges in internal-combustion motor cylinders in the make-and-break system.
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