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

Exploits cause the system to consume large amounts of bandwidth and resources in a way that degrades system performance. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "New vulnerabilities may let hackers remotely SACK Linux and FreeBSD systems," 18 June 2019 The medium is different, the bandwidth is higher, but the behavior is fundamentally the same. Owen Thomas,, "‘Broadcast yourself,’ YouTube told us. It might want to rephrase that," 12 June 2019 Helium is far from the first to tackle low-power wireless networks for such devices, which require just a trickle of bandwidth. Carolyn Said,, "What are Helium founders breathing? A cheaper, longer-range wireless network," 16 June 2019 The other certainty is that impeachment will suck up the news cycle leading up to 2020, leaving less bandwidth for the Democratic candidate who can bring people to the polls and beat Trump in the election. Thembi Ford, Essence, "Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That: The Liberal Case Against Impeachment," 12 June 2019 Improved compression also leads to streams that require 40% lower bandwidth for the same quality, reducing the potential costs for both users and streaming services, Bethesda said. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Bethesda says its Orion tech can make all cloud gaming better, faster," 10 June 2019 The country’s multibillion-dollar auction for bandwidth in cutting-edge 5G mobile networks was on. Clifford Coonan, The Christian Science Monitor, "At stake in Huawei’s German bid, economic gain vs. national security," 6 June 2019 Using a high-bandwidth 5G wireless connection, the pilot can control a robot from up to 6 miles (10 kilometers) away. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Toyota's Remote-Control Humanoid Robot Is Uncanny," 30 Nov. 2018 There can be times when the greater bandwidth of the x4 interface is an advantage. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Intel Optane Memory H10 SSD Review: How it could speed up your next laptop," 22 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of bandwidth

1902, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bandwidth

Statistics for bandwidth

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bandwidth

The first known use of bandwidth was in 1902

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bandwidth



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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bandwidth

Spanish Central: Translation of bandwidth

Nglish: Translation of bandwidth for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on bandwidth

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


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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