Richter scale


Rich·​ter scale ˈrik-tər- How to pronounce Richter scale (audio)
: an open-ended logarithmic scale for expressing the magnitude of a seismic disturbance (such as an earthquake) in terms of the energy dissipated in it with 1.5 indicating the smallest earthquake that can be felt, 4.5 an earthquake causing slight damage, and 8.5 a very devastating earthquake

Examples of Richter scale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the world of gravitational wave research – in which impossibly huge detection devices (more on that in a bit) are used to track celestial events in the way Richter scales track earthquakes – Cal State Fullerton is a legitimately big player. Andre Mouchard, Orange County Register, 19 May 2024 Typically, an earthquake needs to score a 2.0-2.5 on a Richter scale to be felt by people. Sven Karabegovic, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Sep. 2023 Barring the unexpected, the outcome is not likely to register high on the political Richter scale. Los Angeles Times, 18 Oct. 2022 After 99 yards and a Gators touchdown, The Swamp was shaking at Richter scale levels from the pure noise of it all. Cecil Hurt, USA TODAY, 19 Sep. 2021 The Mavs probably will make a deal before the March 25 trade deadline, but don’t expect any of them to set off Richter scale. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, 5 Mar. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Richter scale.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Charles F. Richter

First Known Use

1936, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Richter scale was in 1936

Dictionary Entries Near Richter scale

Cite this Entry

“Richter scale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

Richter scale

Rich·​ter scale ˈrik-tər- How to pronounce Richter scale (audio)
: a scale for expressing the strength of an earthquake

More from Merriam-Webster on Richter scale

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