Origin of birefringence
International Scientific Vocabulary 1bi- + refringent refracting, from Latin refringent-, refringens, present participle of refringere to break up — more at refract
First Known Use: 1898
Medical Definition of birefringence
: the refraction of light in an anisotropic material in two slightly different directions to form two rays; also : the visual effect produced by birefringence <The diagnosis was made before scanning in 22 patients by the detection of deposits with apple-green birefringence …—Philip N. Hawkins et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, 23 Aug. 1990>
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