bec·​que·​rel (ˌ)be-ˈkrel How to pronounce becquerel (audio)
plural becquerels
: a unit of radioactivity of a given sample of material equal to one atomic decay (see decay entry 2 sense 5b) per second
The resulting trench is still contaminated with about 100 becquerels of radioactivity per gram of soil, much higher than normal.Rob Edwards
compare curie sense 2
abbreviation Bq

Examples of becquerel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Significant amounts of cesium-137 from Soviet nuclear weapons were released into the ocean in the 1960s, but the concentration in the ocean east of Japan had gone down to 1.5 becquerels per cubic meter when last measured in 2010. IEEE Spectrum, 11 Jan. 2012 But some of the boars tested in the new study carried far higher radioactivity levels, with the contamination ranging from 370 to 15,000 becquerels per kilogram of meat., 2 Sep. 2023 In Bavaria, boar hunted in certain areas must be tested for radioactivity, and German health guidelines allow for the human consumption of such meat if the radiation is under 600 becquerels per kilogram., 2 Sep. 2023 According to a study by the Japanese government, China’s own Fuqing nuclear power plant discharged 52 trillion becquerels of tritium in 2020. Kathleen Magramo, CNN, 27 Aug. 2023 The wastewater will then be diluted to 1,500 becquerels of tritium – a unit of radioactivity – per liter of clean water. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 4 July 2023 The World Health Organization allows 10,000, while the US has a more conservative limit of 740 becquerel per liter. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 4 July 2023 For comparison, Japan’s regulatory limit allows a maximum of 60,000 becquerels per liter. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 4 July 2023 Australia, which has no nuclear power plants, allows more than 76,000 becquerel per liter, a measure used to gauge radioactivity, while the WHO’s limit is 10,000. Emiko Jozuka, CNN, 19 Apr. 2023

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Word History


after Antoine-Henri becquerel

First Known Use

1975, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of becquerel was in 1975

Dictionary Entries Near becquerel

Cite this Entry

“Becquerel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Bec·​que·​rel be-ˈkrel How to pronounce Becquerel (audio)
family of French physicists including: Antoine-César 1788–1878; his son Alexandre-Edmond 1820–1891; the latter's son Antoine-Henri 1852–1908
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