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I googled "the contact draws in electricity" and found 0 result, yet it seems something you would read in an engineering paper or journal. I couldn't find anything. Is there a more idiomatic way of saying this?

The contact draws in electricity from the battery and draws it out to the rest of the electronic device.

The contact draws in energy from the battery and powers the electronic device.

I can't think of any other way to say this that sounds more idiomatic. "Suck in" might work, but it's informal and even less idiomatic sounding.

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    Is this supposed to be an engineering paper? I have no idea what you mean by contact. In everyday speech, we say something like "the device draws power from a 12V battery". – pboss3010 Sep 17 at 13:42
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    When dealing with electricity, the contact is the point at the ends of batteries (or other components) where it is added to a circuit. – JRodge01 Sep 17 at 13:55
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    Contacts don't draw anything, whether in or out. What exactly are you trying to say? – Weather Vane Sep 17 at 15:36
  • contacts draw electricity. – yodicafilms Sep 17 at 16:58
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    Well, a contact conducts electricity but it is a passive component, so it does not do any drawing, drawing in, or drawing out. Perhaps you can clarify what the sentence is intended to mean, because only you know that. It's still a guessing game despite my attempts to draw you out. – Weather Vane Sep 17 at 18:43
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You can say "draws in" or just "draws" when referring to the act of taking energy in.

You wouldn't say "draws out" in reference to giving off energy, nor "suck in".

You could say "distributes the rest..." or "powers the rest...".

The second sentence you quoted would be correct.

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    None of the above answers and comments are correct in an electrical engineering context. – Michael Harvey Sep 17 at 14:00
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    Provide some substance to your statement if you feel differently. I'm a technical writer for a US engineering form and can attest that my answers are used in the field. – JRodge01 Sep 17 at 14:07
  • I have seen/used "draw" in the context of electric current but it typically is in context of an "electric load". For example, I would not say, "This contact/wire is drawing current". However, I would definitely say, "This TV draws 2 amps." According to Google ngram, "draw current" (unlike "drawing power/energy") has been declining in use since the 40s, but I see/hear a fair amount of it in analogue design/power transmission discussions. – urnonav Oct 21 at 14:42
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If you are speaking about receiving power (freely) and not attracting it (by force) then the most common term is "to get".

  • "to get" means "to recieve/come to have/aquire/obtain" something.

The streetlamps get electricity from the nearby power grid.

If you are speaking about getting power by force, attracting it or attaining against will then the more common term is "to drain":

The broken circuit drains power from the battery.

I also stumble upon the terms "to suck" and "to draw" which, as I have noticed, are mostly used in the same context.

As for the output of power from a certain source, terms such as "to give" and "to provide" are often used:

The battery provides power to the engine.

This power station gives electricity to nearby regions.

  • We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed. – Bella Swan Sep 18 at 7:18
  • @BellaSwan Oh, policy has changed. Excellent! – SovereignSun Sep 18 at 7:24
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"Draw power" and "draw energy" are certainly idiomatic expressions.

However, I have personally never heard "draw electricity" used. That doesn't mean it is incorrect, just perhaps not idiomatic, which is what your question is asking.

See this ngram to show how little "draw electricity" is used in comparison to power/energy.

Further to this though, none of these expressions are normally used with the word "in". The word "draw" in this context means to take something from another source, so it is something of a redundancy to say "draw in" as the direction of the flow is already clear.

For this reason, the second part of your expression is also wrong - as "draw" means to take in, so it cannot be used to describe the distribution of power from the battery out to the device.

I think your sentence should say:

The contact draws power from the battery which then flows to the rest of the electronic device.

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