frame of reference

noun phrase

: an arbitrary set of axes with reference to which the position or motion of something is described or physical laws are formulated
: a set of ideas, conditions, or assumptions that determine how something will be approached, perceived, or understood
a Marxian frame of reference

Examples of frame of reference in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Confuse consumers by defining a new category without a frame of reference. Steve Blank, Fortune, 9 Feb. 2024 So long as your frame of reference doesn’t go as far back as Edward Scissorhands. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Feb. 2024 However, this frame of reference, called heliocentrism, still is not the best frame for everything. Phil Plait, Discover Magazine, 14 Sep. 2010 As a frame of reference, the three-day Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta’s Central Park has already announced nearly 70 acts, including Foo Fighters, Weezer and Queens of the Stone Age. Théoden Janes, Charlotte Observer, 25 Jan. 2024 What was your frame of reference for him during casting? Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Dec. 2023 People can also encounter moments where their spatial sense of self separates from their usual frame of reference. Conor Feehly, Discover Magazine, 12 Oct. 2023 Subtly changing light loosens the spatial geometry, altering the frame of reference around the eternity of landscape and sky seen out the windows. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 25 Oct. 2023 Cooper might be someone with a similar frame of reference, and he’s spent enough time with Shayk to understand the demands of modeling too. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 11 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1895, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of frame of reference was in 1895

Dictionary Entries Near frame of reference

Cite this Entry

“Frame of reference.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

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