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

Definition of harmonic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

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Other Words from harmonic


harmonically \ här-​ˈmä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce harmonically (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 Place the curved, horizontal tonearm—designed to produce a clear sound by reducing any harmonic distortion—over the record and lower the arm lever. Billy Cadden, Popular Science, "The best turntables I’ve taken for a spin," 22 May 2019 In most previous passenger car applications of this engine, the fourth harmonic unbalance occurs beyond the normal speed range. Car and Driver, "Tested: 1964-1/2 Ford Mustang," 17 Apr. 2020 His nuanced understanding of Davis’s playing — its harmonic and rhythmic wirings as well as its smoldering tone — was only part of a vast musical ken. Giovanni Russonello, BostonGlobe.com, "Wallace Roney, jazz trumpet virtuoso," 2 Apr. 2020 His nuanced understanding of Davis’s playing — its harmonic and rhythmic wirings as well as its smoldering tone — was only part of a vast musical ken. Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, "Wallace Roney, Jazz Trumpet Virtuoso, Is Dead at 59," 31 Mar. 2020 These Very Long Period signals, called VLPs, are harmonic and low, reminiscent of a double bass or large bell. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Origin of mystery humming noises heard around the world, uncovered," 9 Jan. 2020 The comparison behind the program was skewed by the choice of pre-tonal music for its harmonic or rhythmic oddities. Washington Post, "JACK Quartet challenges the listener in ways both old and new," 9 Dec. 2019 The dish ping pongs between creamy sesame notes and bright acidity, harmonic and distinct at once. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Al Tayeb, a Lebanese diner in Garden City, is one of Michigan's best breakfast joints," 4 Dec. 2019 But harmonic subversions slip in, and a quasi-hoedown evolves into jazzy syncopations. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Voices of Change ensemble serves up more than a century of ‘modern music’ at SMU’s Caruth Auditorium," 18 Feb. 2020 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, "Tested: 1964-1/2 Ford Mustang," 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, "When a Critic Hosts the Premiere," 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, "Opera at the Edge," 7 Dec. 2019 The adaptive dampers prevent unwanted harmonics even when dealing with gnarly surfaces at inappropriate speeds. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "Porsche's Updated Macan GTS Hits the Sweet Spot," 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, "The 12 Best Air Guns of 2020," 28 Feb. 2020 Note the high harmonics and current out of sync: 3DFS Here’s the interface with SDE turned on. David Roberts, Vox, "This technology could fundamentally change our relationship to electricity," 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, "Community News For The Colchester Edition," 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, "The bar was set high for Austrian cellist Kian Soltani, and his latest recital delivered," 23 Jan. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for harmonic

Time Traveler

The first known use of harmonic was in 1570

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Statistics for harmonic

Last Updated

2 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Harmonic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harmonic. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for harmonic


How to pronounce harmonic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of harmonic

technical : of or relating to musical harmony rather than melody or rhythm

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More from Merriam-Webster on harmonic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for harmonic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with harmonic

Spanish Central: Translation of harmonic

Nglish: Translation of harmonic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about harmonic

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