absolute zero

noun

Definition of absolute zero

: a theoretical temperature characterized by complete absence of heat and motion and equivalent to exactly −273.15°C or −459.67°F

Examples of absolute zero in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But to detect those faint emanations of heat, the telescope must be very cold — less than 45 degrees Celsius above absolute zero — so that its own heat does not wash out the heat from outer space. New York Times, "The Webb Telescope, NASA’s Golden Surfer, Is Almost Ready, Again," 2 Feb. 2021 Google’s experiment used a superconducting chip dubbed Sycamore, with 54 qubits, cooled to fractions of a degree above absolute zero. Tom Simonite, Wired, "China Stakes Its Claim to Quantum Supremacy," 3 Dec. 2020 To do so, physicists use lasers to cool atoms to just a trillionth of a degree above absolute zero. Karmela Padavic-callaghan, Scientific American, "Ultracold Molecule Mystery Solved," 23 Nov. 2020 Going into Election Day, Silver pegged Donald Trump's chances of winning the presidency at 29%; the four other major forecasters, including The New York Times, had Trump's chances ranging from 15% to absolute zero. Stuart Emmrich, Vogue, "The 9 Twitter Accounts to Follow on Election Day," 1 Nov. 2020 Superconductivity was first discovered in 1911 by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes in a mercury wire chilled to 4.2° above absolute zero, or 4.2 K. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "After decades, room temperature superconductivity achieved," 14 Oct. 2020 For a long time, this has been extreme cooling—like approaching absolute zero with million-dollar cryogenics extreme. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "In a Monumental First, Scientists Discover a Room-Temperature Superconductor," 15 Oct. 2020 But that device only works at temperatures near absolute zero, which requires working within cryostats cooled with liquid helium. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "The short weird life—and potential afterlife—of quantum radar," 23 Sep. 2020 Like approaching absolute zero, scientists chip away at the Big Bang by extremely tiny increments that move closer and closer to their asymptote-like goal. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "A Universe Never Reveals Its True Age, So We Will," 16 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'absolute zero.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of absolute zero

1798, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for absolute zero

Time Traveler

The first known use of absolute zero was in 1798

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Statistics for absolute zero

Last Updated

12 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Absolute zero.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute%20zero. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for absolute zero

absolute zero

noun

English Language Learners Definition of absolute zero

technical : the temperature that is believed to be the lowest possible temperature

absolute zero

noun

Medical Definition of absolute zero

: a theoretical temperature characterized by complete absence of heat and equivalent to exactly −273.15°C or −459.67°F

More from Merriam-Webster on absolute zero

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about absolute zero

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