fre·​quen·​cy | \ˈfrē-kwən(t)-sē \
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

Beta blockers may reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, and calcium channel blockers can help prevent migraines altogether, according to the Mayo Clinic. Korin Miller, SELF, "How to Tell if Vestibular Migraines Are Why You Get Dizzy So Often," 12 July 2018 In three clinical trials comprising more than 500 people, the pharmaceutical was shown to reduce the frequency of seizures associated with these conditions. Adam Adache, Time, "My 10-Year-Old Daughter Takes the First FDA-Approved Marijuana Drug. It's Changed Our Lives," 26 June 2018 Epidiolex was effective in reducing the frequency of seizures in patients with the two syndromes in clinical trials. Lilly Price, USA TODAY, "FDA approves first marijuana-based epilepsy drug: CBD oil," 26 June 2018 Such strikes have increased in frequency amid soaring tensions between Israel and Iran, a major Assad ally. Alice Su, The Seattle Times, "Fighting in Syria’s south escalates, displaces 50,000 people," 26 June 2018 Such strikes have increased in frequency amid soaring tensions between Israel and Iran. Bassem Mroue And Alice Su,, "Fighting in Syria’s south escalates, displacing up to 50,000 people; Jordan keeps border sealed," 26 June 2018 Called aspirin desensitization, the outpatient procedure typically takes two or three days and can alleviate the symptoms of AERD, reducing the frequency of sinus infections and improving asthma control and a patient’s quality of life. Sandra G. Boodman, Washington Post, "Her doctor said she had the flu. It took years to find the real, and strange, illness.," 23 June 2018 Garbage collection Crowe Horwath recommended the city look at optimizing garbage collection by reducing the frequency of pickups to once per week and biweekly or monthly for brush service. Erin Edgemon,, "Naming rights for Legion Field? Birmingham audit finds $21 million in cost savings," 26 Apr. 2018 In such cases, his first step is to reduce the frequency of meetings to once every three months. Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, "Japan’s Rent-a-Family Industry," 23 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for frequency

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for frequency

The first known use of frequency was in 1600

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More Definitions for frequency


fre·​quen·​cy | \ˈfrē-kwən-sē \
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 \
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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Comments on frequency

What made you want to look up frequency? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express warning or disapproval

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