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 One test will be to let the device run at its resonant vibrational frequency for minutes or hours at a time. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "Gravity, Gizmos, and a Grand Theory of Interstellar Travel," 3 Sep. 2020 The report recommended reporting frequency be contingent on the regional level of risk of the MI Safe Start plan, with lower-risk areas only having to report weekly while high-risk areas report cases and deaths daily. Scott Mcclallen, Washington Examiner, "Whitmer's task force recommends changes for coronavirus nursing home care," 2 Sep. 2020 The frequency of changing out the litter is also important. Traci Howerton,, "Here's how to keep your kitty in the pink during Happy Cat Month and beyond," 2 Sep. 2020 Although the signal was short—just four up and down wave cycles—the team could still analyze it, parsing out its amplitude, its shape, and how its frequency changed over time. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Middleweight black holes finally found but they pose a puzzle," 2 Sep. 2020 Jewish publications across America are shrinking their print editions, laying off staff and reducing their publication frequency. Uriel Heilman,, "Disrupted by COVID-19, what lies ahead for American Jewry?," 1 Sep. 2020 Upon receipt of a NEGATIVE PCR test result of the second Anterior Nares PCR Test, the subsequent frequency of testing is every 4 days. Adam Baum, The Enquirer, "Western & Southern Open announces safety protocols, first positive COVID-19 test," 19 Aug. 2020 Esquire dropped its frequency from eight to six per year. Kerry Flynn, CNN, "The future of the September issue was already uncertain. Then 2020 happened," 15 Aug. 2020 And our politics is tuned to their frequency, whatever’s happening to the poor. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "The Real Pandemic Gap Is Between the Comfortable and the Afflicted," 14 Aug. 2020

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

21 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Frequency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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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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