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

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 This was the first observation of particles that communicate a force since scientists recognized photons of light as the carriers of electromagnetism. Quanta Magazine, "Three Major Physics Discoveries and Counting," 18 July 2018 Unlike conventional guns that use chemical energy (gunpowder) to force a projectile out of a barrel and towards a target, railguns rely on electromagnetism. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China’s Railgun Has Reportedly Gone to Sea," 31 Dec. 2018 Ford incorporates a slew of new technologies, including the vaunted electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), which uses electromagnetism instead of traditional steam to launch aircraft from the flight deck. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "First of Its Class, America's Newest Aircraft Carrier Is Underway at Sea," 10 Apr. 2017 His attention shifted to trying to unify his version of gravity with electromagnetism. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Gravitational waves and the slow pace of scientific revolutions," 30 June 2018 It was left to Michael Faraday, in the first half of the 19th century, to define the modern understanding of electromagnetism. Charles R. Morris, WSJ, "‘Energy’ Review: The Path to Power," 21 June 2018 The firm formerly known as Dong, for Danish Oil and Natural Gas, is now Ørsted, a big wind firm named after the founder of electromagnetism. The Economist, "Royal Dutch Shell and Total flirt with becoming utilities," 28 Mar. 2018

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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2 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for electromagnetism

The first known use of electromagnetism was in 1821

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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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recurring in steady succession

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