diffraction

noun

dif·​frac·​tion di-ˈfrak-shən How to pronounce diffraction (audio)
: 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 This was inspired by the paintings of Rembrandt and Vermeer and involved principles of light diffraction while adding volume and textures to characters. Bill Desowitz, IndieWire, 8 July 2024 This creates a holistic—and nearly holographic—image without the diffraction and phase anomalies that come from multiple transducers arrayed across the cabinet’s front baffle. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 3 July 2024 This is a breakthrough for animation involving light diffraction and adding volume and textures to characters, which takes aesthetic inspiration from painters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer. Bill Desowitz, IndieWire, 13 June 2024 Before 2016, the only way to determine the shape of a protein was through X-ray crystallography, a laboratory technique that uses the diffraction of X-rays by single crystals to determine the precise arrangement of atoms and molecules in three dimensions in a molecule. Marc Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 10 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for diffraction 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'diffraction.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1672, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of diffraction was in 1672

Dictionary Entries Near diffraction

Cite this Entry

“Diffraction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diffraction. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

diffraction

noun
dif·​frac·​tion dif-ˈrak-shən How to pronounce diffraction (audio)
: the bending or spreading of a beam of light especially when passing through a narrow opening or by the edge of an object
also : similar changes in other waves (as sound waves)

Medical Definition

diffraction

noun
dif·​frac·​tion dif-ˈrak-shən How to pronounce diffraction (audio)
: 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

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