atomic clock

noun

Definition of atomic clock 

: a precision clock that depends for its operation on an electrical oscillator regulated by the natural vibration frequencies of an atomic system (such as a beam of cesium atoms)

Examples of atomic clock in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Horologists, those who study and measure time, were busy tinkering with atomic clocks and taking measurements. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "The Centuries-Long Quest to Measure One Second," 24 Mar. 2017 The measurement is then used to evaluate a suite of commercial atomic clocks, also stored in egg incubation chambers, and give them a weighted grade. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "The Centuries-Long Quest to Measure One Second," 24 Mar. 2017 Google would later use this method to synchronize computers based on GPS data and atomic clocks to make sure that their database system could correctly order transactions. John Markoff, New York Times, "Time Split to the Nanosecond Is Precisely What Wall Street Wants," 29 June 2018 Additionally, the time-keeping device on each satellite gives a subtly different reading, the result of variations in their atomic clocks, which tell time by measuring the precise oscillations of an atom. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "The New Arms Race Threatening to Explode in Space," 26 June 2018 It is linked to other labs around Europe by fibre-optic cables that are used to synchronise the measurements of atomic clocks. The Economist, "Submarine cables could be repurposed as earthquake detectors," 16 June 2018 His predictions have all been validated since with atomic clocks. Priyamvada Natarajan, WSJ, "‘The Order of Time’ Review: Stop All the Clocks," 1 June 2018 This could have ramifications for groups looking to use time crystals to build new atomic clocks, gyroscopes, or for other applications. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Discover 'Time Crystals' Growing Right Under Their Noses," 4 May 2018 The American and German researchers are now using the lasers to improve optical atomic clocks, which could potentially be used to tell the time with unparalleled precision. Hannah Osborne, Newsweek, "World’s Sharpest Laser Created by Scientists Can Travel 2 Million Miles Before It Falters," 30 June 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of atomic clock

1924, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about atomic clock

Share atomic clock

Statistics for atomic clock

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for atomic clock

The first known use of atomic clock was in 1924

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for atomic clock

atomic clock

noun

English Language Learners Definition of atomic clock

: a special kind of clock that is extremely exact

More from Merriam-Webster on atomic clock

See words that rhyme with atomic clock

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about atomic clock

Comments on atomic clock

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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