exclusion principle


: a principle in physics: no two particles (such as electrons) in an atom or molecule can have the same set of quantum numbers

called also Pauli exclusion principle

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The exclusion principle ensures that electrons occupy different orbits around a nucleus. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 15 May 2020 But these have a powerful negative charge that would overwhelm the subtle self-ordering effect of the exclusion principle. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 15 May 2020 Which also has nothing to do with the exclusion principle, so at least it’s consistent. Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine, 23 Feb. 2012 Understanding the origin of Pauli’s exclusion principle would unlock explanations for all of these deep facts of quotidian life. Adam Becker, Scientific American, 22 Nov. 2022 Wolfgang Pauli’s exclusion principle, discovered in 1925 through studies of atomic spectra, showed the possibility of hole-like vacancies in atoms and molecules. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, 19 May 2022 That exclusion principle applies to the atoms in gas, too, which is what the scientists used to demonstrate it. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 24 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exclusion principle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of exclusion principle was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near exclusion principle

Cite this Entry

“Exclusion principle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exclusion%20principle. Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on exclusion principle

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

What Did You Just Call Me?

  • brown chihuahua sitting on the floor with squinting eyes looking at the camera
  • Before we went to her house, Hannah told us her aunt was a flibbertigibbet.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?