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

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 Instead of exploiting the diffraction properties of glass, a metalens uses nanofins — tiny structures, typically made of titanium dioxide — to bend wavelengths toward the metalens focal point. Rafi Letzter, NBC News, "'Metalens' breakthrough may bring a revolution in camera design," 3 Jan. 2018 It not only blocks the star directly, but also suppresses diffraction with an elaborate petaled edge. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Earth-sized alien worlds are out there. Now, astronomers are figuring out how to detect life on them," 1 Nov. 2017 That allows the molecular details of a sample to be probed every few nanoseconds using X-ray diffraction. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Conditions like those inside Neptune cause diamond formation," 27 Aug. 2017 But diffraction of the incoming light makes the pictures imperfect. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "How the Solar Eclipse Could Help Us Solve a Mystery About the Sun," 19 Aug. 2017 The top image shows the visible diffraction pattern; the bottom shows extra light in the infrared. Lisa Grossman, WIRED, "DIY Laser Safety: How to Test Pointers and Save Your Eyes," 16 Aug. 2010 By chance, in another set of images, the background star ended up right in the middle of a diffraction artifact. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Einstein still annoyingly right as researchers weigh white dwarf," 8 June 2017

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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29 Jun 2019

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The first known use of diffraction was in 1672

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More Definitions for diffraction


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)

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More from Merriam-Webster on diffraction

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with diffraction

Britannica English: Translation of diffraction for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diffraction

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