elec·​tro·​mag·​ne·​tism | \ i-ˌlek-trō-ˈmag-nə-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce electromagnetism (audio) \

Definition of electromagnetism

1 : magnetism developed by a current of electricity
2a : a fundamental physical force that is responsible for interactions between charged particles which occur because of their charge and for the emission and absorption of photons, that is about a hundredth the strength of the strong force, and that extends over infinite distances but is dominant over atomic and molecular distances

called also electromagnetic force

— compare gravity sense 3a(2), strong force, weak force
b : a branch of physical science that deals with the physical relations between electricity and magnetism

Examples of electromagnetism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Most of them boil down to adding a new force to nature’s repertoire of gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. Tom Siegfried, Scientific American, "Physicists Probe Validity of Einstein’s Gravity on Cosmic Scales," 21 Jan. 2020 This powerful physical phenomenon is one component of electromagnetism, one of the fundamental forces of nature. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "How Do Magnets Work?," 7 Dec. 2019 Fundamental forces of nature, like the theory of electromagnetism, can only be discovered and exploited once. The Economist, "Free exchange How to get more innovation bang for the research buck," 27 Feb. 2020 These constraints on the photon’s interactions lead to Maxwell’s equations, the 154-year-old theory of electromagnetism. Quanta Magazine, "Why the Laws of Physics Are Inevitable," 9 Dec. 2019 Of course, there applications of electromagnetism in everyday life are vast. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "How Do Magnets Work?," 7 Dec. 2019 The strong nuclear has quantum chromodynamics, electromagnetism has quantum electrodynamics, the weak nuclear has quantum flavordynamics. Richard Panek, Twin Cities, "Richard Panek: Gravity? Who knows?," 5 Oct. 2019 In the 1960s, Richard Feynman and Bryce DeWitt set out to quantize gravity using the same techniques that had successfully transformed electromagnetism into the quantum theory called quantum electrodynamics. Quanta Magazine, "Why an Old Theory of Everything Is Gaining New Life," 8 Jan. 2018 Bosons include photons, the particles of light and the force carriers of electromagnetism, and gluons, the particles that convey the strong force. Philip Ball, Scientific American, "Supergravity Snags Super Award: $3-Million Special Breakthrough Prize," 6 Aug. 2019

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

1821, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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The first known use of electromagnetism was in 1821

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Last Updated

31 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Electromagnetism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/electromagnetism. Accessed 8 Apr. 2020.

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How to pronounce electromagnetism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of electromagnetism

technical : a magnetic field that is produced by a current of electricity


elec·​tro·​mag·​ne·​tism | \ i-ˌlek-trō-ˈmag-nə-ˌtiz-əm How to pronounce electromagnetism (audio) \

Medical Definition of electromagnetism

1 : magnetism developed by a current of electricity
2 : physics dealing with the relations between electricity and magnetism

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More from Merriam-Webster on electromagnetism

Spanish Central: Translation of electromagnetism

Nglish: Translation of electromagnetism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about electromagnetism

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