fre·​quen·​cy | \ ˈfrē-kwən(t)-sē How to pronounce frequency (audio) \
plural frequencies

Definition of frequency

1 : the fact or condition of occurring frequently the frequency of automobile accidents
2a : the number of times that a periodic function repeats the same sequence of values during a unit variation of the independent variable
b : the number, proportion, or percentage of items in a particular category in a set of data
3 : the number of repetitions of a periodic process in a unit of time: such as
a : the number of complete alternations (see alternation sense 1) per second of an alternating current
b : the number of complete oscillations (see oscillation sense 3) per second of energy (such as sound or electromagnetic radiation) in the form of waves

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Examples of frequency in a Sentence

the alarming frequency of serious automobile accidents caused by young drivers The frequency of student errors was frustrating to the young teacher. Our visits decreased in frequency. Errors were occurring with increasing frequency. a sound wave of high frequency waves having very different frequencies from one another a current having a frequency of 60 hertz a radio frequency of 30 megahertz
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Recent Examples on the Web Wiseman started using the app and zoning out to low-frequency beats online, anything to help him stop overthinking. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "How Warriors’ James Wiseman is leaving LaMelo hype, rookie setbacks behind him," 3 Apr. 2021 That has the potential to change the way that high-frequency traders send data between exchanges in North America, Europe and Asia. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, "High-Frequency Traders Eye Satellites for Ultimate Speed Boost," 1 Apr. 2021 The system uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) to read the information on your card. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Airlines may ask for test results," 30 Mar. 2021 Pigeons, whales, and giraffes, among others, can detect infrasound—low-frequency sound waves that travel hundreds of miles in air and even farther in water. Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, "Why Animals Don’t Get Lost," 29 Mar. 2021 Zenith introduced its high-frequency Defy 21 chronograph to great fanfare in 2017, and continues to iterate the model in bold aesthetic directions. Victoria Gomelsky, Robb Report, "Zenith’s Latest Defy 21 High-Frequency Chronograph is Downright Electric," 24 Mar. 2021 About the only thing diminishing the luxury ambience this time around was a low-frequency grumble from the engine below 2000 rpm, where the V-6 spends a lot of its time. Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, "2021 Lincoln Nautilus Hides Big Changes Inside," 15 Mar. 2021 This strategy may allow optical communication to compete with large radio-frequency satellite communication dishes, with the advantage of being quantum-compatible. Scientific American, "Adaptive Optics Branches Out," 15 Mar. 2021 Based on infrasound measurements, which are low-frequency sounds that can travel great distances, the agency was able to measure the fireball as weighing about 10 pounds with a diameter of around six inches. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "A meteor rattled buildings as it streaked across the sky above Vermont," 9 Mar. 2021

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

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for frequency

Time Traveler

The first known use of frequency was in 1600

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Statistics for frequency

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Frequency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for frequency


fre·​quen·​cy | \ ˈfrē-kwən-sē How to pronounce frequency (audio) \
plural frequencies

Kids Definition of frequency

1 : frequent repetition Rain fell with frequency.
2 : rate of repetition She went with increasing frequency.
3 : the number of waves of sound or energy that pass by a point every second Tune the stereo to receive a specific frequency of radio waves.


fre·​quen·​cy | \ ˈfrē-kwən-sē How to pronounce frequency (audio) \
plural frequencies

Medical Definition of frequency

1 : the number of individuals in a single class when objects are classified according to variations in a set of one or more specified attributes
2 : the number of repetitions of a periodic process in a unit of time

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