in·​ter·​fer·​om·​e·​ter ˌin-tər-fə-ˈrä-mə-tər How to pronounce interferometer (audio)
: an apparatus that utilizes the interference of waves (as of light) for precise determinations (as of distance or wavelength)
interferometric adjective
interferometrically adverb
ˌin-tər-fə-ˈrä-mə-trē How to pronounce interferometer (audio)

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Using a modern sub-millimeter interferometer located in the Atacama Desert of Chile, scientists determined the features of the complex galaxy. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 10 Feb. 2023 To test their theory, the researchers used a device called a laser interferometer, which splits a laser beam and sends it down two 40-meter-long tunnels to reflect off a mirror and back again. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 9 Dec. 2015 The level of seismic isolation demanded by the LIGO interferometer is not easy to achieve and requires complex and precise machinery. Discover Magazine, 19 Dec. 2016 Any passing gravitational wave will alter the pattern, which the interferometer will pick up. Tim Hornyak, Discover Magazine, 1 May 2016 The Virgo interferometer is an observatory for gravitational waves, set among Tuscany’s rolling hills. WIRED, 9 Jan. 2023 The astronomers in question observed the star using an interferometer, allowing extremely precise measurements of the star's size, which in turn yielded very accurate numbers for its temperature and mass. Phil Plait, Discover Magazine, 20 July 2011 The heart of the satellite is a new technology known as a Ka-band radar interferometer (KaRin). Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 16 Dec. 2022 This 263-dish radio- and millimeter-wave interferometer will observe star-forming regions, active black holes and light associated with exploding stars with 10 times the sensitivity and resolution of the VLA. Aaron S. Evans, Scientific American, 1 Dec. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'interferometer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

1897, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of interferometer was in 1897

Dictionary Entries Near interferometer

Cite this Entry

“Interferometer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​ter·​fer·​om·​e·​ter ˌint-ə(r)-fə-ˈräm-ət-ər How to pronounce interferometer (audio)
: an instrument that uses the interference of waves (as of light) for making exact measurements (as of wavelength)

Medical Definition


in·​ter·​fer·​om·​e·​ter ˌint-ə(r)-fə-ˈräm-ət-ər, -ˌfir-ˈäm- How to pronounce interferometer (audio)
: an instrument that utilizes the interference of waves (as of light) for precise determination especially of wavelength, spectral fine structure, indices of refraction, and very small linear displacements
interferometric adjective
interferometrically adverb
interferometry noun
plural interferometries

More from Merriam-Webster on interferometer

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