al·​be·​do | \ al-ˈbē-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce albedo (audio) \
plural albedos

Definition of albedo

1 : reflective power specifically : the fraction of incident radiation (such as light) that is reflected by a surface or body (such as the moon or a cloud) — compare reflectance
2 : the whitish, spongy inner part of the rind of a citrus fruit : the mesocarp of a hesperidium The trouble with grapefruit is that however carefully you peel it, some of the white stuff always sticks to the fruit. The spongy white tissue, called albedo, is quite bitter, and it clings with the tenacity of lichen.Discover — compare flavedo

Examples of albedo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With an average albedo of 4.4 percent, Bennu is one of the darkest objects in the Solar System. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "What is black and gray and far away?," 20 Mar. 2020 The tiny orbiting asteroid, according to Wierzchos's additional tweets, has a diameter between 6.2 and 11.5 feet and has an albedo, or surface brightness, similar to C-type asteroids, which are carbon-rich. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Earth Can Have a New Little Moon, as a Treat," 26 Feb. 2020 The albedo of Venus is close to .7, meaning its thick cloud covering reflects about 70% of the light striking it back into space. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "How to see Venus and a crescent moon side-by-side this Thursday," 27 Feb. 2020 Its high surface reflectivity, or albedo, throws back incoming solar radiation and keeps the ground beneath it relatively cool. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Colorado River Is in Danger of a Parched Future," 21 Feb. 2020 Eventually, Hooks found some Russian materials from the 1920s that, in pure mathematics, described the albedo of the Moon. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "The Greatest Leap, part 4: Catching Apollo fever as a new NASA employee," 19 July 2019 Permafrost and loss of albedo are the only two feedbacks with cost estimates at this point. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "A warming Arctic could cost the world trillions of dollars," 23 Apr. 2019 The new classification system uses what are called calibrated spectra and geometric albedos, measurements of the way light reflects off a planet's surface. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "New Planet "Fingerprint" System Will Help Find Habitable Exoplanets," 31 July 2018 The camera also maintains albedo, displacement, and normal map that are render-ready. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "HP’s Z 3D Camera puts Sprout’s scanning power on your PC," 8 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'albedo.' 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 albedo

1860, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for albedo

borrowed from Late Latin albēdin-, albēdō "whiteness, white color," from Latin albus "light-colored, white" + -ēdin-, -ēdō, suffix of abstract nouns; (sense 1) after German Albedo in this sense, borrowed from Latin — more at alb, torpedo

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Time Traveler for albedo

Time Traveler

The first known use of albedo was in 1860

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Statistics for albedo

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Albedo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for albedo


al·​be·​do | \ al-ˈbēd-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce albedo (audio) \
plural albedos

Medical Definition of albedo

: the fraction of incident light or electromagnetic radiation that is reflected by a surface or body (as the moon or the skin)

More from Merriam-Webster on albedo

Nglish: Translation of albedo for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about albedo

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