har·​mon·​ic | \ här-ˈmä-nik How to pronounce harmonic (audio) \

Definition of harmonic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : musical
2 : of or relating to musical harmony or a harmonic
3 : pleasing to the ear : harmonious
4 : of an integrated nature : congruous



Definition of harmonic (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : overtone especially : one whose vibration frequency is an integral multiple of that of the fundamental
b : a flutelike tone produced on a stringed instrument by touching a vibrating string at a nodal point
2 : a component frequency of a complex wave (as of electromagnetic energy) that is an integral multiple of the fundamental frequency

Other Words from harmonic


harmonically \ här-​ˈmä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce harmonic (audio) \ adverb

Examples of harmonic in a Sentence

Adjective the desire to live the kind of harmonic life in which work and family are perfectly balanced
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective His big, brawny sound is matched by his dexterity and harmonic sophistication. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Aug. 2022 The harmonic silkiness and wedding-ready choruses of Beyoncé’s earlier hits are mostly absent, and maybe none of these songs will land in her catalog’s tippy-toppiest tier. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 29 July 2022 The overall effect is of a smoothly unfurling carpet — reminiscent of Philip Glass in its unhurried yet wrenching harmonic progressions — atop which voices soar. New York Times, 22 July 2022 But Byrd’s lighting, exerting a strong but delicate harmonic influence, like that of the double-bass in an orchestra, made the pieces cohere for me, forming a suite on the themes of the terror of love and the agonies of belief. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 27 June 2022 Despite the music’s harmonic richness, Weilerstein eschewed the temptation of ponderous tempos and the Phoenix playing was polished and articulate throughout. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 22 May 2022 The pianist showed great maturity in her ability to control dramatic that revealed every harmonic nuance. San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Apr. 2022 Students must constantly be watching and listening, ready to respond to the smallest rhythmic cue or harmonic variation from a fellow performer. Jeff Banowetz, chicagotribune.com, 13 Apr. 2022 The eight or so minutes that follow — their harmonic surprises and melodic mementos, their climbing strings and slumping horns — had a time-capsule magic to their unfolding. Washington Post, 20 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But on the high-performance 289 the fourth harmonic comes within its 7000-rpm range, so the vibration damper developed for the Indianapolis engine, with enlarged rubber contact areas and tuned for higher crankshaft speeds, was adapted. Car and Driver, 17 Apr. 2020 In true Gordon style, the music tends violently percussive and extreme, relentless in its industrial repetitions, but with stark exceptions: a section of glassy harmonics, another of keening, drooping melancholy gestures. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 14 Feb. 2020 Trojahn’s orchestral writing is similarly fluent: the pacing is confident, the coloristic contrasts intelligent, and there are some beguiling textures; a diaphanous web of harp and stratospheric string harmonics early in the opera was breathtaking. Matthew Aucoin, The New York Review of Books, 7 Dec. 2019 The adaptive dampers prevent unwanted harmonics even when dealing with gnarly surfaces at inappropriate speeds. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 10 Feb. 2020 The business end has lots of interchangeable options, too, including a fiber optic bead, a tunnel sight, and a muzzle brake that is said to improve accuracy by altering barrel harmonics. Joseph Albanese, Field & Stream, 28 Feb. 2020 Note the high harmonics and current out of sync: 3DFS Here’s the interface with SDE turned on. David Roberts, Vox, 5 June 2018 Wade is a singer, song-crafter and guitarist whose sultry voice and back-up acoustic band bring a fresh interpretation to Americana, Bluegrass and Blues through brilliant vocal arrangements and harmonics. courant.com, 15 Nov. 2019 This meditative piece worked best when the mood was quiet and undulating, especially in the passage in high harmonics near the end, so otherworldly in sound, almost like a theremin. Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of harmonic


1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1777, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of harmonic was in 1570

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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Harmonic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harmonic. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on harmonic

Nglish: Translation of harmonic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about harmonic


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