Definition of entropy
1 : a measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system's disorder, that is a property of the system's state, and that varies directly with any reversible change in heat in the system and inversely with the temperature of the system; broadly : the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system
2a : the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformityb : a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder
entropicplay \en-ˈtrō-pik, -ˈträ-pik\ adjective
entropicallyplay \en-ˈtrō-pi-k(ə-)lē, -ˈträ-\ adverb
Recent Examples of entropy from the Web
The question of futility, given the inexorable suckiness of entropy, was raised many times on the Wanderlodge.
The fallacy of attributing every unfortunate outcome to deliberate intent, and neglecting the possibility of incompetence, unplanned by-products, or entropy.
Govan thinks that this reversal came partly because Smithson championed the principle of entropy, and Heizer wanted nothing to do with an idea associated with his nemesis.
The subsequent chapter, which ends in the Nevada prison where Mr. Simpson currently resides, is all entropy, squalor and sleaze.
Mr. Gilles suggested that bureaucratic entropy and a lack of responsibility among the political class were undermining security at the airport.
But something about this season's mummer's farce has fast-tracked the entropy into further political absurdity.
In a nation plagued by economic entropy, otaku keep things churning.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'entropy'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
With its Greek prefix en-, meaning "within", and the trop- root here meaning "change", entropy basically means "change within (a closed system)". The closed system we usually think of when speaking of entropy (especially if we're not physicists) is the entire universe. But entropy applies to closed systems of any size. Entropy is seen when the ice in a glass of water in a warm room melts—that is, as the temperature of everything in the room evens out. In a slightly different type of entropy, a drop of food coloring in that glass of water soon spreads out evenly. However, when a nonphysicist uses the word, he or she is usually trying to describe a large-scale collapse.
Origin and Etymology of entropy
International Scientific Vocabulary 2en- + Greek tropē change, literally, turn, from trepein to turn
First Known Use: 1868
Medical Definition of entropy
: a measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system's disorder and that is a property of the system's state and is related to it in such a manner that a reversible change in heat in the system produces a change in the measure which varies directly with the heat change and inversely with the absolute temperature at which the change takes place; broadly : the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system
Seen and Heard
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