birefringence

noun
bi·​re·​frin·​gence | \ˌbī-ri-ˈfrin-jən(t)s \
plural birefringences

Definition of birefringence 

1 : the refraction of light in an anisotropic material (such as calcite) in two slightly different directions to form two rays According to G. Blom of Philips, video disc acrylics must be optically clear and free of striations and birefringence. Clear vinyl often is highly birefringent.Technical Survey

called also double refraction

2 : the visual effect produced by birefringence The diagnosis was made before scanning in 22 patients by the detection of deposits with apple-green birefringence— Philip N. Hawkins et al.

3 : the difference between the angles of refraction of light rays exhibiting birefringence

Other Words from birefringence

birefringent \ ˌbī-​ri-​ˈfrin-​jənt \ adjective

First Known Use of birefringence

1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for birefringence

International Scientific Vocabulary bi- entry 1 + refringent refracting, from Latin refringent-, refringens, present participle of refringere to break up — more at refract

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about birefringence

Share birefringence

Dictionary Entries near birefringence

birectangular

birefracting

birefraction

birefringence

bireme

biretta

Birgus

Statistics for birefringence

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for birefringence

The first known use of birefringence was in 1879

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for birefringence

birefringence

noun
bi·​re·​frin·​gence | \ˌbī-ri-ˈfrin-jən(t)s \

Medical Definition of birefringence 

: the refraction of light in an anisotropic material in two slightly different directions to form two rays also : the visual effect produced by birefringence The diagnosis was made before scanning in 22 patients by the detection of deposits with apple-green birefringence— Philip N. Hawkins et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, 23 Aug. 1990

Other Words from birefringence

birefringent \ -​jənt \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on birefringence

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about birefringence

Comments on birefringence

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a trusted follower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!