A word that can mean several different things depending upon the context. For our purposes we are concerned with the definition of a fuse as a component in an electrical circuit whose function is to fail in an overload condition and thus prevent more substantial components from failing. Fuses have historically been used for safety reasons. In electrical wiring, for example, a limit must be placed on the amount of current allowed to pass through wire of a given gauge (thickness) and insulating material. If too much current is allowed to flow, the wire can become hot enough to start a fire or cause other problems. Fuses are designed in all shapes and sizes to fail first so overload conditions do not cause damage or produce unsafe conditions. They are often employed in electronic equipment so that a component failure does not cause a cascade affect and take out the entire unit.