dif·​frac·​tion | \ di-ˈfrak-shən How to pronounce diffraction (audio) \

Definition of diffraction

: a modification which light undergoes especially in passing by the edges of opaque bodies or through narrow openings and in which the rays appear to be deflected also : a similar modification of other waves (such as sound waves) or of moving particles (such as electrons)

Examples of diffraction in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Perhaps the spot-correction on your own Tinder profile perfectly correlates with the diffraction pattern of a double-slit experiment. Colin Heasley, The New Yorker, "Schrödinger’s Tinder Date," 27 Feb. 2020 Other goodies inside include a fiber-optic peacock and diffraction glasses. Popular Science, "Fun and fascinating science kits for kids," 10 Feb. 2020 In this case, the corona is caused by a diffraction pattern, resulting from moonlight bent around the edges of supercooled water droplets. Washington Post, "Incredible moon halos, corona shine over Manitoba, Canada," 11 Jan. 2020 In essence, the structure acts like naturally occurring diffraction gratings. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Jewel beetle’s bright colored shell serves as camouflage from predators," 23 Jan. 2020 First 250 tickets include a pair of diffraction glasses to heighten the technicolor effects. Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, "New Year's Eve events in Cincinnati: Say bye to 2019 and hi to 2020," 23 Dec. 2019 Despite this precaution, their first efforts still suffered from strange colours and opaque regions caused by diffraction and consequent interference patterns. The Economist, "Transparent solar cells could be used to glaze office blocks," 12 Dec. 2019 The camera zooms in on the surface of the stone, and soon we’re suspended in a swell of C.G.I. — pink-flecked shards of bewildering diffraction, a tunnel of blithe and kaleidoscopic light. Jamie Lauren Keiles, New York Times, "Adam Sandler’s Everlasting Shtick," 27 Nov. 2019 Dense Bragg peaks have been seen before, in the diffraction patterns of quasicrystals, those strange materials discovered in the 1980s with symmetric but nonrepeating atomic arrangements. Quanta Magazine, "A Chemist Shines Light on a Surprising Prime Number Pattern," 14 May 2018

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

1672, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for diffraction

borrowed from New Latin diffrāctiōn-, diffrāctiō (Medieval Latin, "action of breaking in pieces"), from Latin diffrag-, variant stem of diffringere, diffrangere "to break up, break apart, shatter" (from dif-, assimilated form of dis- dis- + frangere "to break") + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at break entry 1

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Time Traveler for diffraction

Time Traveler

The first known use of diffraction was in 1672

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Cite this Entry

“Diffraction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diffraction. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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dif·​frac·​tion | \ dif-ˈrak-shən How to pronounce diffraction (audio) \

Medical Definition of diffraction

: a modification which light undergoes in passing by the edges of opaque bodies or through narrow slits or in being reflected from ruled surfaces and in which the rays appear to be deflected and to produce fringes of parallel light and dark or colored bands also : a similar modification of other waves (as sound waves)

More from Merriam-Webster on diffraction

Britannica English: Translation of diffraction for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diffraction

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