band·​width | \ ˈband-ˌwidth How to pronounce bandwidth (audio) , -ˌwitth \

Definition of bandwidth

1 : a range within a band of wavelengths, frequencies, or energies especially : a range of radio frequencies which is occupied by a modulated carrier wave, which is assigned to a service, or over which a device can operate
2 : the capacity for data transfer of an electronic communications system Graphics consume more bandwidth than text does. especially : the maximum data transfer rate of such a system a bandwidth of 100 megabits per second
3 : the emotional or mental capacity necessary to do or consider something I don't have the bandwidth to do it all myself, and I feel like a failure because I'm not living up to my own ideals.— Frances Lefkowitz

Examples of bandwidth in a Sentence

The modem has a bandwidth of 56 kilobits per second. Graphics use more bandwidth than text does.
Recent Examples on the Web Over the last 15 years, the cost of storage and bandwidth has plunged. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Downloading public court documents costs a dime a page—is that legal?," 6 Feb. 2020 Maintaining that continuity of service doesn't allow much time or bandwidth for pleasantries. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "One Small Fix Would Curb Stingray Surveillance," 27 Jan. 2020 Each year, the world’s best athletes slip into Boston under the cover of January. More often than not, the New England Patriots are monopolizing the sports fans’ bandwidth. John Vitti,, "Road to 2020 Summer Olympics starts in Boston," 25 Jan. 2020 One thing of which Dorsen, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, is certain: The award will give her the time, space and bandwidth to write a book on algorithmic theater. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, "MacArthur Fellowship goes to director Annie Dorsen for ‘algorithmic theater’," 25 Sep. 2019 High-res audio files carry higher storage and bandwidth costs, but prospective Qobuz customers will pay extra — textbook marketing. Glenn Peoples, Billboard, "The Growing Cost of Music's $9.99 Monthly Price Tag," 20 Sep. 2019 Internet access, speeds and bandwidth have dramatically increased in recent years in Iran. NBC News, "Tech-savvy Iranians stay connected on social media despite regime restrictions," 21 Aug. 2019 But as has happened every other time speeds and capacity have increased, applications are developed to take advantage of the additional bandwidth. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, "5G technology could widen the digital divide in rural Colorado," 29 Dec. 2019 The key difference here is PCIe 4.0, which doubles bandwidth over PCIe 3.0. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "AMD unveils 32-core Threadripper 3970X, 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X, and unlocked Athlon," 7 Nov. 2019

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

1902, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for bandwidth

Time Traveler

The first known use of bandwidth was in 1902

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Statistics for bandwidth

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bandwidth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce bandwidth (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bandwidth

technical : a measurement of the ability of an electronic communications device or system (such as a computer network) to send and receive information

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Britannica English: Translation of bandwidth for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bandwidth

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