band·​width ˈband-ˌwidth How to pronounce bandwidth (audio)
: 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
: 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
: 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 The arrival of over 37,000 migrants to his city over the past year – many ineligible for work permits, at least initially – has also strained Denver’s bandwidth. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Jan. 2024 Wi-Fi 7 devices can use 320 MHz of channel bandwidth, compared to the typical 160 MHz used by Wi-Fi 5, 6, and 6E gear. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 8 Jan. 2024 The combination gives the experimental chip a spectral resolution of 37 megahertz and a wider bandwidth than preceding chips, the team reported in a paper published 20 November in Nature Communications. IEEE Spectrum, 25 Dec. 2023 And Comcast, with more than 32 million broadband internet subscribers, knows where users are spending that valuable bandwidth. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Dec. 2023 The Beverly Hills company had an audacious plan to lay fiber optic cable under the ocean to feed the growing demand for bandwidth by the first generation of internet companies that had sprung up in the second half of the 1990s. Laurence Darmiento, Los Angeles Times, 7 Nov. 2023 Playing back that video can require up to 85 Mbps of bandwidth per stream. Steve McDowell, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Xi will have the chance to answer his critics when a host of Global South leaders arrive this week to pledge support for the program and test Beijing’s bandwidth for new deals—chief among them Russian President Vladimir Putin. TIME, 16 Oct. 2023 For example, a company must maintain expensive servers with significant computing power capable of processing high resolution video with sufficient bandwidth to deliver video content over the internet. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1902, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bandwidth was in 1902

Dictionary Entries Near bandwidth

Cite this Entry

“Bandwidth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


band·​width ˈband-ˌwidth How to pronounce bandwidth (audio)
: a range of frequencies
: the capacity for or rate of data transfer
a high bandwidth Internet connection

More from Merriam-Webster on bandwidth

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