Kerr cell

noun (1)
\ ˈkär-, ˈkər-\

Definition of Kerr cell

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a cell that contains electrodes immersed in nitrobenzene or other liquid, that exhibits double refraction in a high degree and with short time lag, and that is used in devices where the intensity of light is to be changed rapidly in accordance with the voltage applied to the electrodes (as in the recording of sound tracks for motion pictures) — compare kerr effect

Kerr effect

noun (2)

Definition of Kerr effect (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the production of double refraction in various dielectrics when placed in a strong electric field
2 : the rotation of the plane of polarization when plane-polarized light is reflected from the end of a magnet

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

History and Etymology for Kerr cell

Noun (1)

after John Kerr †1907 Scottish physicist

Noun (2)

after John Kerr

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on Kerr cell

What made you want to look up Kerr cell? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!